1. Clear the site
These days, nearly all of Radmacher Brothers’s jobs are state and municipal government projects. And while it does subcontract some work, such as asphalt, electrical, and landscaping, the firm completes virtually everything else in-house. “When times get hard, the more you can do, the easier it is to get a project,” Robert says. “The more you can self-perform, the more competitive you can be. Then you have the job, and it’s easier to control the speed and flow of it.”
With every project, the first order of business is to survey the site. In the case of the Little Blue Parkway in Independence, Missouri, the scope of the project included roadwork—a four-lane street with curbs and sewers—as well as new bridgework construction over the Little Blue River.
2. Conduct earthmoving
Once it’s cleared and prepared, the site is ready for excavation. This means working on cuts and fills or moving dirt from high spots to low ones. With a stable of state-of-the-art equipment, Radmacher Brothers’s grading crew is capable of moving anywhere from 2,000 to 2.5 million cubic yards of earth. On the Little Blue Parkway project, which featured two large bridges and a roadway, the team created 30-foot-high dirt fills to abut one of the bridges. According to Robert, the fills were built at such an elevation because the bridge was being constructed over a railroad and, as a result, had to be high enough for the train to pass underneath.
At the same time excavation work is being done, crews can start placing the utilities—first a sanitary sewer, then a storm sewer, and, lastly, the water main. Radmacher Brothers performs virtually all the utility work on its projects, with the exception of gas, telecommunications, and electricity.
3. Build a framework
As the utility work and grading are being completed, the bridge crews excavate footings and drive support piles underground. Once the piles are in place, the footings are poured on top of the piles. Columns are then poured, followed by caps and abutments. The next step is girders, which are made of concrete or steel and extend between the caps and abutments. The area between the girders is formed by conventional wood forms or by placing precast-concrete panels. Finally comes the reinforcing steel and the placement of the concrete deck. According to Robert, his company does all of the work except the reinforcing steel.
4. Prepare for paving
With the deck in place, the next step is to prepare the roadway base for paving. This usually involves one of two methods: placing base rock or a fly ash-treated subgrade. Once the subgrade is complete, crews place the curbs, driveways, sidewalks, and finally the actual roadway, which can be concrete or asphalt. Radmacher Brothers performs all this work except for the asphalt.
5. Add safety features and beautify
With the bridge deck finished and the roadway in place, the last step involves the installation of safety features, such as barrier curbing, fencing, roadway stripes, street lights, and traffic signs. Once the safety features are in place, the landscaping and beautification work is the last thing to be done. Of the work in this particular step, Radmacher Brothers only installs the barrier curbing; the rest is subcontracted out. ABQ