The fact that this project was a FHWA CFL project in conjunction with the National Park Service, funded by ARRA, coupled with its remote, mountainous and historic location, created some additional challenges:
- Crew lodging was not available near the park, so Intermountain Slurry Seal crews had up to three hours of travel time to the jobsite each day.
- Radio and cell phone communications in the park were limited due to the terrain, putting added emphasis on planning.
- Emulsion was shipped from Tucson, AZ, and required the crew to place orders two days in advance.
- The terrain also contributed to the biggest project risks: limited-sight distance, sharp curves, narrow roadways and steep drop offs directly adjacent to the roadway.
- Material for chip sealing on federal projects is subject to quality acceptance testing, which was required every 20,000 square yards. This equated to 20 samples that were collected, split and processed daily during the chip sealing process.
- There was limited availability of adequate or approved staging areas and multiple forest fires caused the crew to consistently relocate its micro surfacing stockyard and equipment, which then required retesting of material.
- Foot traffic in the parking areas was a consistent problem.
A job well done
Niemann says the care taken to meet every challenge paid off in several ways. When the project was complete and all of the paperwork finalized, a federal ARRA audit rated the job at an A-. “For all that we had to work with — the stipulations, additional work, weather and visitors — it went very well,” he says. “We all had our preferences as to what we wanted done and how we wanted it done, but everyone was willing to work together and find the best solutions. And, the different pavement preservation processes available allowed us to be flexible.”
Ultimately, Niemann says, “With everything we went through, to receive the grade we did from the ARRA audit, and to be recognized by ISSA with the President’s Award for 2011 — it was really rewarding. We were never notified of any complaints and when we were finished and visitors pulled in, the park had something to be proud of.”