At 70 years old and a lifetime spent in the construction industry, Greg Di Pietro has seen a lot of changes and worked with a lot of GOMACO equipment and control systems slipforming thousands of kilometers/miles of curb and gutter and sidewalk in Canada. His first GOMACO machine was a GT-6000 purchased in 1972, and the company was called Weldon McEachen. The GT-6000 featured the Analog system, a proportional control system consisting of a sensor, amplifier and servo valve.
“The GT-6000 was the first curb and gutter machine GOMACO put out,” Di Pietro said. “It only had two tracks and was still experimental in Canada. It was a little bit of fun to work with it.”
Di Pietro wanted to learn more about the GOMACO machines he was operating, so in the late 1970s he attended his first classes at the GOMACO Education Center, what would go on to become the present day GOMACO University.
“Dennis Clausen (GOMACO University’s Director of Training) was a young guy then,” he explained. “The University wasn’t where it is now. It was in a little shop and just a small classroom, no bigger than a double-car garage. I have been back many times since then and we’ve sent other guys from the company, too. It’s a good school.”
As GOMACO machines evolved, so did Di Pietro’s skills as an operator and company manager. His present company, Curbside Construction Ltd., was created in 1987 with him and three other partners specializing in concrete projects, specifically curb and gutter and sidewalk. They purchased a new GOMACO three-track Commander III for their slipforming projects. This Commander III is still owned and operated by Curbside today. As the company grew, so did their inventory of GOMACO curb and gutter machines, more GT-6300s and a GT-3600.
The opportunity to purchase Curbside Construction presented itself in 2007. Curbside became a family-owned company when Di Pietro purchased it along with his two sons, Gerry and Larry. Gerry works in the field as a machine operator and Larry serves as general manager. Both of them grew up working with their father as summer laborers and have known GOMACO equipment from very young ages.
Staying competitive, looking for advantages, and growing the company in a competitive market have been the main focus for Curbside in the last 10 years. Beyond curb and gutter, they’re looking for unique applications and new machines to make their sidewalk operation more efficient.
One of their more unique projects is currently underway in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at a newly constructed distribution center. Curbside is on site slipforming 10.2 kilometers (6.3 mi) of dolly pads for the semi trailers to park on, as well as eight kilometers (5 mi) of barrier curb around the perimeter of the facility.
“It’s one of the largest Industrial Commercial Institutional (ICI) projects Toronto has seen in the last 20 years and we’re happy to be on it and a part of it,” Larry Di Pietro said. “Basically, there’s over 500,000 tons of crushed ground limestone on the site, 100,000 tons of hot mix asphalt, and over 10.2 kilometers (6.3 mi) of dolly pads which are three meters (9.8 ft) wide. It gives you a little bit of an idea of the enormity of the site. Lastly, there are over 30,000 square meters (322,928 ft2) of concrete apron, so quite the size of a job for a private company.”
Curbside is using their GOMACO GT-6300 with new 3100 series mold to slipform the dolly pads. Each pad is 500 meters (1640 ft) long, 200 millimeters (7.9 in) thick, with welded wire mesh hand-placed on the grade.
During slipforming, the GT-6300 is constantly adjusting for changing slope and correct drainage for each dolly pad. Water has to flow correctly across the huge facility.
“It’s a challenge because on every catch basin we have to change the slope of the pad,” Greg said. “We go from level to one percent, 2.5 percent or three percent, so we keep dialing in and out the different slopes as we follow the slope of the parking lot. The GT-6300 is working exactly as we anticipated with no problems at all.”
The crew easily slipforms approximately 350 cubic meters (458 yd3) or one 500 meter (1640 ft) long dolly pad each day they pour. It’s good production considering project developers had specified handforming the dolly pads in the original bid.
“Originally the project was spec’d with double-layer rebar and the pads were to be hand poured,” Larry explained. “Thanks to GOMACO, one of the ways we were able to get this job and be the low bid was to offer a value engineering proposal with slipformed dolly pads with wire mesh. Everyone is looking to get the work, so you always have to find ways to save money, ways to edge out the competition.”
The company is using their GOMACO GT-3600 to slipform the project’s curb and gutter. The site has approximately eight kilometers (5 mi) of curb on the project. Around the perimeter of the facility is a 410 to 610 millimeters (16 to 24 in) tall barrier curb. A portion of the barrier curb was slipformed using the Topcon mmGPS machine guidance system. It was a demo Topcon setup for them to test out the stringless guidance system. The slipforming went well and Curbside is considering a system for next season.
Curbside runs a total of four crews each day, three crews work on mainline curb and gutter with the GOMACO equipment, and a fourth crew is in charge of sidewalk. It is because of Curbside’s continuing quest to offer their customers the best product possible at the most economical price that led them to the GOMACO GT-3200 sidewalk paver with the G+® control system.
“I saw it in a video and I knew we had to get it,” Gerry Di Pietro, operator of the GT-3200 sidewalk paver, said. “We monitored projects where we could use it and talked to
“It’s a nice machine and is saving us a lot of work,” Greg said. “We have to convince a lot of the municipalities that we’re doing a good job with it and they have to accept it. It takes a little bit of time for the municipalities to come on board and say okay. But, I go back, when we started using the curbing machine for curb, it was the same way. Even though it’s a better job, we have to convince other people that we are doing a better job.”
Their GT-3200 sidewalk paver is outfitted with a 1.8 meter (5.9 ft) rock placing mold or a minimum-clearance trimmer. Often times, the sidewalk projects in their region require a 102 millimeter (4 in) rock base which they place with the GT-3200 and rock placing mold. Then, they remove the mold and equip the paver with their trimmerhead to trim any excess base as they slipform the sidewalk.
The widths of their slipformed sidewalk vary between 1.49 and 1.79 meters (4.9 and 5.9 ft) wide. Production and quality have improved with the new GT-3200.
“The precision is like no other, obviously,” Larry said. “We’ve had some really good production days. We poured 190 cubic meters (248.5 yd3) in one day in Lindsey, Ontario, last year. It was a nice, large project with nothing in the way and we put down over 2000 square meters (21,528.5 ft2) of sidewalk. By hand, you’re probably looking at 300-400 square meters (3229-4306 ft2) a day.”
“That’s like a week’s worth of work,” Gerry added. “We did that in a day... a week in one day. That’s incredible. It’s a better product, too. It’s a flat sidewalk.”
Curbside Construction is a proud family-owned company with deep roots in the construction industry in Canada. As Larry and Gerry take over more of the day-to-day operation of the company, Greg is freed up to enjoy his time on their job sites, helping out where necessary, confident in knowing his company is in good hands. As new opportunities arise, Curbside will be there providing the quality end product to their customers. The GOMACO family will be there providing their slipforming equipment.
“GOMACO has been true to our family and to our heart for many years,” Larry said. “My Dad, since I was a little baby, he’d be running off to GOMACO’s head office for the training courses. I’ve seen him running a machine for years. Again, it’s up to us to grow. I think without GOMACO we wouldn’t be able to be as successful. We constantly converse with them, with our distributor, as well as the head office and are constantly bouncing ideas off each other. I think it’s been a great team so far.”
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Curbside Construction is using their GOMACO GT-6300 with new 3100 series mold to slipform over 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) of three meter (9.8 ft) wide white dolly pads at a newly constructed distribution center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Curbside Construction is using their GT-3600 to slipform approximately eight kilometers (5 mi) of barrier curb around the perimeter of the distribution center.
Greg Di Pietro, pictured third from the left in the top row, and his classmates pose for a class photo during the Commander III class at the GOMACO Education Center in March 1978.
Curbside Construction says the GT-3200 sidewalk paver produces a high quality and precise sidewalk at a production rate far higher than what could be built by handforming.
Curbside Construction purchased their first Commander III (GT-6300) in 1987 and the company still uses it today on different projects. Their inventory of GOMACO equipment has grown over the years to include not only GT-6300s, but multiple GT-3600 curb and gutter machines and a GT-3200 sidewalk paver.
“I saw it in a video and I knew we had to get it,” said Gerry Di Pietro, the operator of the GT-3200 sidewalk paver. Curbside Construction purchased the sidewalk paver last year, in 2015.
Curbside has three curb and gutter crews at work on a daily basis slipforming a variety of profiles. Here, a GT-3600 slipforms the curb and gutter portion of two-stage curb on a new road for a subdivision.
Curbside is a proud, family-owned company. From left, Gerry, Greg, and Larry Di Pietro each fulfill an integral part of the day-to-day operation of a successful and growing concrete slipforming company.