Concrete inFocus - Spring 2015 - (Page OC1)

infocus online connections: corporate suite The Trail to Your Future Business Should be Paved with Concrete Jon Hansen S pring 2015 has arrived. For the upper two thirds of the nation, spring marks the beginning of another construction season. I once asked a contractor from the southern one third of the nation as to how many days of paving his company got per year, thinking it would be nice not to be encumbered by the weather. To my surprise, I found his answer not too different from my experience living in the upper two thirds. What I determined from our conversation was the scheduling process was a little different. Where we tend to put full effort into equipment maintenance and repair, project bidding, employee vacations and the like during the winter months in the upper two thirds, those items are generally spread out during the full year in the lower one third. So the net result of actual exterior paving days was about the same. Spring has always given me a sense of a fresh start. The trees budding, flowers growing, ground thawing are all nature's signs to renew the spirit and recharge the energy. It's a time to reflect and get ready for the mainstay parts of our business, but it is also a time to look around at new opportunities. This brings me to the topic headlined in this article. The construction of recreational trails is big business. More specifically, paved recreational trails are one of the leading factors listed by new home buyers as an amenity most important to them when selecting a home. But like other exterior concrete paving, trails are another market segment we have allowed other paving materials to dominate without challenge. There are pockets of exceptions, and it is those exceptions that I want to appeal to your renewed spring vigor to pursue this year. Let's look first at some quick facts. * Concrete trails can be constructed anywhere on any type of soil. In almost all cases, they are constructed on smooth bladed native soil. * Like other slab on grade paving, the use of reinforcing steel or wire mesh is not required. They are minimally finished and textured with a broom or drag. * The panels are cut square, with the majority of recreational trails being 10 foot wide. * From a construction approach, the process requires some type of blade (tractor, skid steer, etc) to clear top vegetation followed by a box type paver pulled by a ready mix truck placing the concrete. Dedicated slip form pavers are also used along with a variety of other types of placement equipment. * A good contractor will pave somewhere between ½ to 1 mile of trail per day, using 650 cubic yards of concrete per mile of trail. Now if you have followed me this far, you're probably saying "yes, but we just can't compete price-wise". For the benefit of the nonbelievers, let me share with you some bid tab information that reflects the current cost of paving material. Five trail projects were bid in one Midwestern state during the same recent year. The paving material was selected by the design engineer for each project. Two projects were specified concrete, three projects were specified asphalt. Each was for a 10-foot wide trail. Upon comparing the apparent low bids submitted on all five projects, you will find that the installed price per square yard on the asphalt projects were 23 percent to 36 percent higher than the installed price per square yard of the concrete trail projects. Not only can concrete trails be lower in initial cost, but the long term cost can be drastically different. The City of Columbia, MO, monitors the cost of maintaining the city's recreational trails, of which the city has gravel, asphalt and concrete paved paths. In a report given in 2008 on the topic of trail material selection, Steve Saitta, superintendent of planning and development for the City of Columbia, listed the annual maintenance cost for a .25 mile section of each trail type. His report showed the yearly maintenance and repair cost per quarter mile of city trail to be $1,320 for gravel, $2,168 for asphalt and $745 for concrete. Like Steve, it is well documented with other parks and recreation management personnel that when given a choice, they would rather have a concrete trail over other types of trails, and for good reason. Most recreational trails are built on less than ideal conditions, places like flood plain regions, along or on top of old railroad grades or through wooded and vegetation overgrowth areas. These conditions result in a trail under water in a flood plain and tree root heave in the wooded areas. Unstable edges along old railroad grades can cause the edges of a flexible pavement trail to "fall off", leaving an unlevel surface with longitudinal edge cracks. Concrete trails are not damaged by water, can easily be repaired by a local worker without special equipment if a panel needs to be removed because of tree root heave and rigid enough to maintain a level surface better than other paving material. And concrete recreational trails are without question the best paving material for maintaining long-term compliance in all aspects of surface requirements laid out in the ADA guidelines. Concrete paved recreational trails are a great opportunity to put some new 'spring' into your business for 2015. Explore your market, arm yourself with the best information and make concrete recreational trails the pathway to expand your market in 2015. ■ concrete INFOCUS ı OC1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Concrete inFocus - Spring 2015

Ready Mixed Plant Innovations
Data Security of Credit Card Processing in the Concrete Industry
Oldcastle Material Group
How the Concrete Paving Industry is Incorporating Sustainability into Our Practices
Index of Advertisers
The Trail to Your Future Business Should be Paved with Concrete
Your Biggest Environmental Threat in 2015 is NOT Who You Think!
Why is the Air There? Thinking about Freeze-Thaw in Terms of Saturation

Concrete inFocus - Spring 2015