In October 1998, Yonkers-Granite, a joint venture between Yonkers Contracting Co. Inc., Yonkers, NY, and Granite Construction Co., Watsonville, CA, began work on the Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector project in New Jersey.
The complex project stretches 3.7 kilometers (2.3 mi.) and connects the Atlantic City Expressway to the marina district. It also includes the construction of nine new highway bridges, a pedestrian bridge, and 19 new retaining walls.
Last, but far from least, is a 670.5-meter (2,200 ft.) tunnel with four traffic lanes running about 36 meters (40 ft.) below a surface that will ultimately be topped with a community park.
Excluding precast roof slabs, the tunnel was designed to be cast-in-place.
Problem: access to the area is limited and there are no service roads leading to the tunnel-cut.
Problem: should Yonkers-Granite invest in its own concrete pump with no guarantee it could be kept busy at the end of this contract or subcontract that part of the project.
Yonkers-Granite made the decision to subcontract the job and awarded the subcontract to King of Prussia, PA-based B. Pietrini & Sons which purchased a Schwing S 47 SX from its sister company, King of Prussia Equipment.
The truck-mounted Schwing concrete pump with its four-section boom is capable of stretching out to pump the customized concrete mixes up to 47 meters (155 ft.).
The flexibility of the four-section 'roll and fold' designed boom allows it to reach in, out, up, down, over and under obstacles. Depending on the pump used, theoretical concrete output ranges from 130 to 163 cubic meters (170 to 213 cu. yds.) per hour. Pietrini uses the 2023-5 pump with a 160-cubic- meter (209 cu. yds.) output.
Acknowledging that it is a "tight job," Butch Pietrini, company vice president, explained, "The Schwing S 47 SX is the biggest pumper we own. It will reach across the [90-foot wide] tunnel … The Atlantic City job is the biggest pumping venture we've had."
Pietrini explained that from the pumper's standpoint, everything is done from up top. "The tunnel floor is 40-feet below grade … The pump sits right on normal grade. We boom off the side and we're able to reach from one side of the tunnel all the way over to the other," he said.
The project is progressing well and it's not uncommon for the company to pour 914 meters (1,000 yds.) of concrete a day. First, Yonkers-Granite places a 10 to 15 centimeter (4 to 6 in.) mud mat down, followed by a waterproofed membrane and rebar. This base is topped with 1.5 to 2 meters (5 to 7 ft.) of concrete which is poured in 15-meter (50 ft.) increments.
Since the tunnel is divided — two lanes in each direction separated by a concrete dividing wall — once the slab is poured, workmen set the forms for the three walls which are then pumped by the Schwing 47X.
Once the wall sections are complete, a pre-cast roof is placed over the tunnel and additional concrete is pumped over it.
Describing the 51-year old business founded in 1948 by his father, Bernard, in Wayne, PA, Pietrini said, "We are a concrete contractor that entered into the concrete pumping business in 1972 and started King of Prussia Equipment Corp., which rents, sells, and services concrete equipment, in 1980. We moved to King of Prussia in 1972."
Pietrini and Sons started in the residential market doing foundations, concrete floors and stone work for developers. When the housing market depressed in the late 60s and early 70s, the Pietrini family opted to move into the commercial/industrial concrete construction world.
The concrete pumping started in 1972 with the two eight-story buildings for Timberlake Apartments in Norristown, PA. "We had been renting pumps from other vendors and decided to buy one for our own use. Today, we own eight boom pumps and five various sized trailer pumps," Pietrini explained, noting that, with some exceptions, pumping is the most efficient way to place concrete on a site.
The Yonkers-Granite project is a high-profile and extremely complex project, and was the main reason the company purchased the new 47X, which also will be used by the construction division.
The concrete construction division specializes in reinforced concrete construction and high-rise work. Some of its recent concrete projects were Commerce Square, a 78,968-square-meter (850,000 sq. ft.), 42-story high-rise in Center City, Philadelphia and the King of Prussia Mall expansion which had about 45,874 cubic meters (60,000 cu. yds.) of concrete. In addition, B. Pietrini & Sons also has completed parking structures for the New Jersey State House, Gateway Parking Garages in Philadelphia, and the Vanguard Parking Garages in Malvern, PA.
Current projects include the Regional Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia, which is a state-of-the-art concrete structure and the company is about to begin work on Terminal One at Philadelphia International Airport for U.S. Airways.
"The future for all the companies looks very promising," Pietrini said.