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Thread summary:

Student seeking information on road construction; road construction takes longer than planned, some roads more durable than others, labor unions

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Old 04-04-2008, 01:38 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,836 times
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Im doing a project and I am in need of some information. One, Why is it roads take longer to build then planned? Second, why is it some roads stay intact longer then others. Third, (optional) Why do you think road construction takes forever to finish? Your answers will be a great help to me and my project.
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Old 04-04-2008, 02:01 PM
 
361 posts, read 822,373 times
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Because of the labor. The higher-ups are unionized thugs who work slowly because they can. The lower ones are hourly workers who work slowly to build up the # of hours worked in order to collect fatter checks. It's not uncommon to see tons of people standing around doing nothing while only one or two work on a given task. They're not being lazy; they're just collecting fatter paychecks.


Some roads stay intact longer than others due to the amount of traffic and abuse they take. Still, in Europe, the roads are much thicker, so they last longer than American roads do, and it wouldn't kill workers to spend the extra time they're gonna spend anyway to produce roads that don't go to crap so quickly.


Other factors to consider are:
1. the planner could be an idiot who doesn't know how to make projections correctly
2. weather delays
3. delays caused by not being able to completely close off a street and only working on parts or on so many lanes at a time.
4. changes in plans mid-construction. I saw this once. The road that goes by Via's main office took almost two YEARS to finish that little street. That's because they paved it, tore it up almost immediately to lay pipes and drainage, filled in the old river canals next to it where San Pedro park is, then re-filled the street where they laid the pipes and drainage, then re-paved it.


Still, last year when I had to deal with the medical drive construction headache and saw four workers standing around while one was shoveling dirt, I think labor is probably the biggest factor from what I have seen myself
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Old 04-04-2008, 02:12 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 83,758,908 times
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I thnk it is the Hwighway dept. failinf to enforce their contract dats.Every contract has a completion date that allows for rain delays but it seems that the Dept does not enforce them, Then there can be changes the dept makes during project that give a variance.As far as how long the roadways last that depends on the construction used. Many of the highways in the county were built to be replaced in like 20 years. I also doubt when built that they ever thought that we would have the numbers of heavy trucks using themj because railroads were a bigger factor then.
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Old 04-04-2008, 03:30 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
148 posts, read 453,125 times
Reputation: 41
I don't know about here in the US,
but this reminds of the most famous highway built in Venezuela.
It's a highway that runs from the capital to a eastern city, about the distance from San Antonio to Dallas.

I always heard about the problems to finish the highway because "they didn't have enought money, and needed more money"

One day I decided to find out when they started working on this highway,
to my surprise, I found out that they started around 1980.
And today they are finally getting close to finishing it, almost 30 years later.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:28 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,836 times
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thanks guys this stuff is a big help
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Old 04-08-2008, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Charleston, SC
5,615 posts, read 12,803,696 times
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I think bonuses for finishing early are a big thing. Construction over here is probably the same as there... takes forever and nobody knows why. The big project I remember getting done ahead of schedule was some major bridge work on I-5 that shut down the majority of the lanes going northbound. It was done quickly though because the contractor was given a bonus for every day ahead of schedule they could finish the work in.

I think this practice should become the standard for road and rail work.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:52 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
1,314 posts, read 2,773,594 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagnerstu View Post
Im doing a project and I am in need of some information. One, Why is it roads take longer to build then planned? Second, why is it some roads stay intact longer then others. Third, (optional) Why do you think road construction takes forever to finish? Your answers will be a great help to me and my project.
First of all, not all roads take longer to build than planned. Some projects actually do get done faster than expected. Admittedly, it doesn't happen very often, but it is not uncommon either. Other projects do take longer. It just depends on the situation. One of the biggest factors that delays construction is, of course, the weather. The second biggest problem is finding stuff underground that wasn't expected. (Anyone who's put a shovel in the ground knows that you never know what you'll find when you start digging.) Problems with utilities, materials, engineering issues, and change orders all can add time to a project. I have a page on my website that talks about this very issue. (Sorry, can't post a link to my own site, but DM me if you'd like the URL.)

As for why it seems projects take forever, that's a perception. Some projects do take a long time simply because of the amount and complexity of the work to be done. Yes, things can be accelerated, but that costs extra, sometimes a lot extra, and funding for roads is already pretty tight. And, as someone pointed out, the need to keep lanes open adds significantly to the time it takes. To get an idea of why, imagine how much longer it would take you to recarpet your living room if you had to leave all the furniture in it. But most contracts do have penalities for projects that run over (it's called liquidated damages and is assessed for each day the project is late.) Many projects, expecially ones on especially busy or important roads, also have bonuses for early completion.

Finally, as for why some roads stay intact longer than others, that's based on the design of the road and traffic, weather, and soil conditions. The latter is especially evident when you compare streets in NE San Antonio with those on the NW side. NE side streets heave and buckle more often because the soil in that part of town expands and contracts much more than on the NW side. Sure, the roads can be built stronger, but again, it's a cost thing. I-35 certainly warrants the extra expense, but a smaller collector or residential street probably doesn't.

Hope that helps. Feel free to DM me or post here if you have any other questions.
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:05 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX (78201)
604 posts, read 1,668,873 times
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The 281/410 interchange is actually being built 3-6 months AHEAD of schedule.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:53 PM
 
2,721 posts, read 3,414,797 times
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Default Your ignorance is encyclopedic,on road building,

I have been a road builder for 36 years, and all over the country,too.
Firstly, there are no union road builder unions in Texas, Moderator cut: personal attack.
Secondly, union men finish at the minimum, four to five months quicker
on an annual basis. What this means einstein, a project that would take acab labor a year to complete , a unionized workforce 6 months. Two years projects for scabs would be completed from 10 months to a year, sometimes
an even greater difference is realized.
This is because the workforce must be more productive in order to survive
at the higher wage rate or the company would be uncompetetive.
Thirdly ,laborers jobs are many times simply put to wait. Wait for the heavy equipment to do its job, wait for the plumbers etc.
Traffic and abuse ,no, not in Texas.
Subsurface soils are the culprit in texas, for road life The load limit for trucks in texas is 30,000 pounds, trucki limit also 30,000 pounds + 60,000 lbs. unless a special permit for a heavy load is purchased from the state for transportation of heavier than legal loads.
Wear and tear is minimum in Texas. In michigan for instance trucks can legally haul 155,000 lbs, that and the "frost heave" the swelling of the ground when it freezes two feet thick means a shorter life span.
In san antonio the high clay content of the subsoils at times causes
ground heave much greater than the frost does in the north.
Thus the huge grade changes that one sees at times in san antonio,
like on Marbach rd outside of loop 410. One could go airborne even.
I have seen subdivision streets where the subgrades and pavements are less thick than state roads or interstates go bad in one year.
Thickness? Nah.
Factors to consider? Moderator cut: personal attack
Planners --engineers, civil engineers- mechanical engineers in the case of bridges and tunnels and bores, plan inclement weather and traffic burden
into the time alloted for jobs.
There are no changes either during "mid-construction".
Once a road has been paved it is pnned and completed, end of story.
Simple, Moderator cut: personal attack.
Later, for various reasons, even right after completetion possibly,
more money comes into play. The construction, say a new building or factory or shopping mall let us say is to be built beyond where the newly paved road
was completed.
So the city or the developer hs to pay to have the road excavated
to put in say new udated mains, Gas, water ,sanitary sewer, storm sewer,
fiber optic telephone lines, gas pipelines etc. to supply the new factory
as the money came in, not when you were prepared to drive through.
This is called progress, Moderator cut: personal attack
Lastly there are no road buildings unions because anti-union legislation was rammed through the state legislature back in thirties by special interest
groups. Brown and root construction to name one whose interests lay in
profiteering.
Any more questions will gladly be answered, Moderator cut: personal attack.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spock's Beard View Post
Because of the labor. The higher-ups are unionized thugs who work slowly because they can. The lower ones are hourly workers who work slowly to build up the # of hours worked in order to collect fatter checks. It's not uncommon to see tons of people standing around doing nothing while only one or two work on a given task. They're not being lazy; they're just collecting fatter paychecks.


Some roads stay intact longer than others due to the amount of traffic and abuse they take. Still, in Europe, the roads are much thicker, so they last longer than American roads do, and it wouldn't kill workers to spend the extra time they're gonna spend anyway to produce roads that don't go to crap so quickly.


Other factors to consider are:
1. the planner could be an idiot who doesn't know how to make projections correctly
2. weather delays
3. delays caused by not being able to completely close off a street and only working on parts or on so many lanes at a time.
4. changes in plans mid-construction. I saw this once. The road that goes by Via's main office took almost two YEARS to finish that little street. That's because they paved it, tore it up almost immediately to lay pipes and drainage, filled in the old river canals next to it where San Pedro park is, then re-filled the street where they laid the pipes and drainage, then re-paved it.


Still, last year when I had to deal with the medical drive construction headache and saw four workers standing around while one was shoveling dirt, I think labor is probably the biggest factor from what I have seen myself

Last edited by Bo; 12-01-2008 at 04:08 PM.. Reason: Personal attacks not allowed here. See my Direct Message for more information.
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Western Bexar County
3,823 posts, read 13,354,285 times
Reputation: 1905
This may help in your research. This thread dealt with the expansion of Loop 1604 West from Hwy 151/1604 south to Hwy 90 (7-mile stretch).

Loop 1604 is a joke
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