One Of The First Concrete Projects In Baja Paves With A First Of Its Kind Paver
|The project is only 7.5 miles (12 km) of a total of 37 miles (60 km) of new concrete roadway in Baja California, Mexico. The road is one of the main thoroughfares through Baja and carries an estimated load of 1800 cars and trucks per day. By most standards, that size of a project wouldn't be drawing the amount of attention this new roadway is attracting.
Perhaps the real attraction is this project is one of the first concrete roadways to be paved in Baja California. And it's not just any slipform paver doing the work, it's a new generation GHP-2800 four-track paver and it's the first of its kind in the country of Mexico.
It's part of Mexican President Vincente Fox's plan to bring the roadways of his country to the same level of quality as those just across the border in the United States. The President is watching the project so closely that he even plans on visiting the job site himself to see the new paver and the product it produces.
The new generation GHP-2800 is co-owned by two companies, Alta Ingeniería 2000 and Constructora Gallego Ingeniería, located in Mexicali, Mexico.
"I saw a GOMACO paver at work on Highway 111 in Calexico, California, and I was in love with the machine," Alberto Woolfolk, director general of Alta Ingeniería, said. "Our government is very interested in concrete projects and right now seemed like a good time to buy a paver. We want to do a very good job here so we can bring in more concrete projects to Baja California."
They have an ambitious goal. Most of their crew has never worked around concrete and never even seen a slipform paver. Woolfolk knew that he needed a manufacturer that could not only provide him with a state-of-the-art paver, but also the training and on-site personnel necessary to teach his crew the basics of slipform paving.
"A lot of people here in Mexico said I was a little crazy, but I didn't let them stop me," he explained. "I saw the new generation GHP-2800 at work and I liked it. I visited GOMACO's factory in Ida Grove, Iowa, USA, and I was impressed with the people I met there and the machines they produced. I feel that the machine I bought has the best technology of any on the market today. Plus, GOMACO has a service department to train my people."
Three weeks before paving was scheduled to begin, GOMACO sent serviceman Tom Phillips down to Mexicali to assist with paver setup and training. On December 9, 2003, the new generation GHP-2800 and its crew paved for the first time.
Concrete is delivered to the job site by 12 end-dump trucks carrying 13 yard3 (10 m3) loads of concrete. The batch plant is owned by Alta Ingeniería and is located approximately 6.2 miles (10 km) from the job site.
"I like having our own batch plant because I feel that we have more control over the concrete mix design and its consistency," Woolfolk said. "We know that the quality of the concrete being delivered to the paver is very good."
The subbase is 6.7 inches (170 mm) thick of cement-treated soil with an asphalt layer on top. The GHP-2800 is paving 24.6 feet (7.5 m) wide and 11 inches (280 mm) thick. Dowel baskets are set by hand every 14.8 feet (4.5 m) in front of the paver for transverse joints. A front-mounted bar inserter on the paver places dowel bars into the slab for the longitudinal joints.
An Auto-Float® mounted on the back of the paver helps finish and seal the final slab.
"Our men are very happy with the machine," Julio Mejilla, project superintendent, said. "The machine does all of the work for them and puts a very good finish on the concrete. All the men have to do is cut the joints in and the paver does the rest."
A T/C-400 texture/cure machine follows behind the paver applying a transverse tine finish and curing compound.
The rideability of the new roadway hasn't been checked yet with a profilometer, but Woolfolk is confident they'll have smooth results.
"The government is looking at the specifications right now," he explained. "They are offering a five percent smoothness bonus if we build this road to their standards. I'm confident we'll earn the full five percent."
Production in the first week of paving averaged 1969 feet (600 m) per day. As the crew grew more confident with the machine and their concrete paving abilities, production increased to 3281 feet (1000 m) per day.
"Most of my men are familiar with hydraulic machines, not pavers, but they know how a hydraulic machine works in general," Woolfolk said. "The paver, with the G21 control system, is very easy to use and very operator friendly. All of the controls are labeled in Spanish so that makes it very easy for us to understand. Tom, a GOMACO service representative, has been a very good teacher, too."
The G21 is just one of the many new features Alta Ingeniería is enjoying on the new generation GHP-2800 paver. The low-profile engine shroud gives the operator a complete view of the entire paving operation. Vibrator controls are located on the front of the paver, in line with the vibrators for easy control and access. The ladders to the operator's platform have a new three-position pivoting system. They can be vertically positioned tight to the paver for minimum-clearance conditions or tilted out for easier climbing and access to the platform.
It is equipped with a powerful Tier II Caterpillar C9, 8.8 liter engine with 335 HP (250 kW). A revolutionary cooling package module incorporates a centrifugal fan for added cooling capacity and noise reduction. The operator, standing on top of the paver on the operator's platform, can easily have a conversation with members of the ground crew.
Their GHP-2800 is also equipped with a lighting package. They're mostly used at the end of the paving day when the machine still needs to be cleaned for the next day. Depending on their paving schedule, they may be doing some night pours to keep their project on track for its March 17, 2004, completion deadline.
"The paver is working very good and we love having it," Woolfolk added. "If you are thinking about starting concrete paving, you need to just collect all the information you can on pavers, then contact GOMACO and buy it. They will teach you how to operate it and be successful with it. If we're concrete paving in Mexico, then I think you can do it in any part of the world."