Q&D Construction finishes Tahoe-area road project ahead of schedule
A marathon push on a road project at Kingsbury Grade paid off with completion a construction season earlier than planned.
Q&D Construction in April began rehabilitation work on nearly four miles of roadway from Tramway Drive at the summit of Kingsbury Grade to Highway 50 at South Lake Tahoe. The work included replacement of roadway and installation of storm drainage, sidewalks, curbing and gutters along the Lake Tahoe side of Kingbury Grade.
During two shutdowns of the primary throughway between South Lake Tahoe and the Carson Valley that totaled five weeks, crews from Q&D worked round-the-clock six days a week to complete the $15 million job. Work included removal and replacing 24,000 cubic yards of asphalt roadway, as well as installation of 6,000 feet of storm drain pipe, 8,700 feet of curb and gutter and 3,300 feet of pedestrian sidewalk.
Q&D was able to complete the work ahead of schedule in large part because it was brought in early to work with Nevada Department of Transportation to plan and design the job, says Project Manager Brian Graham. Q&D had nearly eight months to put together its construction game plan.
“We came up with different ideas on how we could make the thing happen as quick as possible,” Graham says. “We came up with the approach to close the road for two peroids: Pre Memorial Day and post Labor Day.
“We turned about six months worth of work into three by doing that.”
Shutting down the highway was not without its share of complications. The initial plan was for a total closure of the roadway, but in response to public outcry Q&D installed a gate system with access cards to provide access to the many businesses and hundreds of residents served by that section of Kingsbury Grade.
Rick Bosch, NDOT assistant district engineer, says that controlling the flow of traffic allowed construction crews to complete larger work areas in a quicker time frame.
“We knew it could take two construction seasons, but by having that gate system closure allowed us to have less traffic and expedite a lot of the work,” Bosch says. “Anytime you do a full roadbed modification, you have to have room to perform all the construction need to build the new roadway — but at same time, you have to accommodate traffic.”
Q&D moved traffic through the work zone with flaggers and pilot cars — at one point the company has as many as 45 flaggers working during the shutdown periods, Graham says. At peak, the company had between 80 and 100 tradesmen and 30 to 40 pieces of heavy machinery scrambling to complete the work.
And despite power and other utilities running throughout the job, crews were never hampered by unforeseen complications during construction, Bosch adds.
Graham says the project’s success was the culmination of collaboration between the Department of Transportation and its general contracting partner.
“Having the opportunity to be at the design phase of the project and part of that decision-making and time to plan, it was as successful of a project as we have ever had,” he says.
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