Tilcon Overcomes Communication Problems on Tempe Wick Road Project

Tempe Wick Road is nestled in a very historic section of Morris County, just south of Morristown, NJ. Tilcon New York Inc. was hired for a roadway improvement project that included milling and resurfacing the road in the Township of Harding and the Township of Mendham in June and July 2011.

“The road was in poor condition and was in dire need of repair,” says Jim Coddington, vice president-NJ Construction with Tilcon. Tempe Wick Road is a major connecting thoroughfare between Route 24 in Mendham and Route 202 in Hardystown and features many local historic buildings and other landmarks that cannot be disturbed.

Project particulars

During the project, two inches of the existing asphalt was milled and replaced with 4,000 tons of a 9.5M64 HMA surface course. The 2-inch mats were placed at approximately 35 fpm. The project ran from June 16, 2011 to July 29, 2011; equipment used on the project included a Roadtec 700 milling machine, a Blaw Knox PF-5510 paver and Caterpillar CB54 and CB34 rollers.

“The mill-and-fill application was the most cost-effective and practical solution for the volume of vehicle traffic we encountered on the project,” says Coddington.


There were several challenges to overcome on this project in addition to maintaining access to the historical buildings and landmarks. These included traffic control, cyclists, no cellular signal and limited radio connectivity.

One of the main challenges on Tempe Wick Road was the traffic control, says Bari Lyn Huston, project superintendent. Tilcon met with the local municipalities as well as county officials to discuss the best plan of action so as not to impede the communities’ daily routines.

“The length of the project and the limited routes to detour the traffic created a concern for the local municipalities,” she explains. “After discussing options with the local municipalities, we provided a work schedule and traffic control plan that would have the least amount of impact on the local community, and allow us to complete the job in a short amount of time.”

Communication in the field was also interesting during the project. As mentioned, there was no cellular signal and limited radio connectivity.

“In the construction industry, communication is the key to a successful operation out in the field,” says Huston. “On this particular project, however, more than half of the project area was considered a ‘dead zone.’ Even when utilizing two-way radios, you had to maintain less than 1,000 feet away from each other. This impacted our communication with plants and other outside services.”

To overcome the communication issue, Huston used the company’s safety crew and local police services to communicate the needs of the construction operations to outside sources.

Despite all the challenges, the Tempe Wick Road project was awarded a 2011 NAPA Quality in Construction Award, presented in January 2012. Why was it an award-winning project?

“The milling profile met with the designed grades,” explains Huston. “The quality of the material and our paving best practices allowed us the opportunity to achieve compaction and alleviate drainage issues.”

Considering Huston and her crew overcame some interesting communication problems during the project, it’s an award well deserved.