By Ben Orgill
The Associated General Contractors of Utah is an organization comprised of members chosen from large engineering firms and construction companies throughout Utah’s construction industry.
The AGC expands their programs by selecting experts and judges from the construction industry from all across the western United States. These panels of experts have the responsibility to review many projects each year, from many companies all throughout the western states.
The AGC of Utah recently held their annual conference and Nielson Construction was the recipient of the AGC’s prestigious award for the 2013 Highway/Municipal Utilities Division Project of the Year (Over $10 Million). The award was presented to Nielson Construction for the work they completed last summer on the Quitchupah Road Project which provided new access to SR-10 from Sufco Coal Mine. This project was selected out of a list of many other projects completed in 2013 by other companies considered for this award.
The magnitude of the extremely rough terrain, the difficult challenges faced throughout the project, the quality of the project upon completion and being able to complete the job on time and on budget were all factors in determining the winner of the award.
Over 250 local jobs were created during the development, design, and construction of this project alone, during the 2012-2013 construction season. Approximately 190 Nielson Construction employees worked on various phases of this project, along with 20 Jones & DeMille Engineering employees.
The new roadway cut 46 miles off of every round trip between Sufco Coal Mine and Pacificorp’s Hunter and Huntington Power Plants. The new route will reduce the miles traveled by coal trucks in Emery and Sevier counties by approximately three million miles per year.
One unique challenge to the project included the ability to design the corridor in order to balance the earthwork within the limits of the project. This included excavating more than 1,700,000 cubic yards of material, and 500,000 cubic yards of rock. That’s enough to fill the LaVell Edwards football stadium at BYU, three times.
Over 12,000 linear feet of culvert and piping was installed ranging in diameter from 24 inches to 14 feet. Five wildlife crossings were also built into the new roadway to allow elk and deer to cross the roadway safely, at a cost of $1,300,000.
From Sufco Mine to SR-10 there’s a 1,400 foot drop in elevation. On final completion over 90,000 tons of asphalt had been placed on the new roadway.
In front of a large crowd at the grand opening of the new Quitchupah Road, Sevier County Commissioner Gary Mason expressed his gratitude for the many partners they have had on this job. “I can’t say enough good things about Nielson Construction and Jones and Demille,” he added. “The plans were not complete for the road when construction began in April 2012. This road was built from scratch over virgin country and we didn’t know what was out there. We’re here today, it’s on time, and it’s on budget. It’s miraculous.”
Wayne Nielson, President of Nielson Construction Company also spoke at the grand opening. “I’m proud to be a part of this project,” he stated. “I’m proud of the Nielson team and the work they did to complete the project on time, and on budget. We are proud to say we have the very best people who work at our company, and it took every employee performing to the best of their ability to build this road through nearly unmapped virgin country. I’m grateful to have been a part of this project. This road will benefit our area for many years to come.”
Contributions from every member of the Nielson team have made the construction through this impassible route an amazing success. “One thing I have learned in business over the years is, if you want to be successful surround yourself with great people, and this was the case on this project,” Nielson acknowledged. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Nielson Construction would like to thank every one of their employee’s that participated in the construction of the Quitchupah Road Project. Other entities involved with the success of the project included: Sufco Coal Mine, Sevier County Commission, Jones & DeMille Engineering, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board, Utah State Historic Preservation Office, Local Native American Tribes, local cattlemen’s associations, local landowners and citizens, and the Utah State Divisions of Natural Resources Environmental Quality, & Water Rights.
To see more of this amazing story and find out additional information about this project, visit https://youtu.be/hpLkszJNiVo.