Concrete inFocus - Spring 2015 - (Page OC1)
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The Trail to Your Future
Business Should be Paved
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
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
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