Kiewit Keeps Streetcar Project on Track with Trench Drains

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When you’ve been in business for over 130 years, you pick up a few key learnings along the way. That foresight for Kiewit Infrastructure Co. translates into dynamic infrastructure, resource facilities, terminals, bridges, and waterways (to name a few) for people to use and appreciate all over the country. The company builds upon its reputation with every project—using each as an opportunity to rise above expectations.

It’s that very groundwork and forward thinking that landed Kiewit the Milwaukee streetcar project. The Fortune 500 contractor took on the project ready to deliver and leave behind a transit system its employees can take pride in and people can rely on.

Project in Motion

The Milwaukee streetcar will transport workforce, residents and tourists to the city center’s businesses and cultural and entertainment destinations. A hop, skip and you’re on your way. It’s expected to spur further developments in the surrounding area, from future routes to restored districts and brand new hot spots.

Phase one covers a 2.5-mile radius, taking riders through downtown to the Historic Third Ward to East Town to the lower east side. The City of Milwaukee aims for a mid-2018 completion, meaning construction complete and a concrete timetable. It’s a big job on the fast track. Any little disruption would set back progress a lot.

Kiewit knew it needed the right materials in place to match its team’s capabilities and meet the trajectory.

“We build and manage major infrastructure and transportation projects across North America,” said Zach Green, Kiewit Guideway superintendant. “For the Milwaukee streetcar, we wanted to go with a local company, but other criteria mattered – pricing, overall design, and time to install. Zurn checked our list. They also consulted with us, which we didn’t expect. We were able to talk to a couple engineers and confirm performance and specs.”

Keeping it Moving

Sometimes jobsites require contractors to customize solutions, especially when there are multiple, bulky pieces to the drain system. The streetcar project required 36 trench drain systems along the route. With time on the line, cumbersome build, makeshift solutions, and extra equipment simply wouldn’t cut it. You run the risk of pipe damage, accidents, and hefty expenses.

“The theme here was about making it easy. We’re a company that focuses on safety and quality. With all of our moving parts on the job, Zurn’s trench drain systems added up to less labor, less costs, and less worry. They’re built to the ideal design and dimensions. Our guys had no problems installing them or pouring the concrete finish around them—no rough edges. The pipe connections were very simple. All set and done, they look good too.”

Set in Time

Zurn’s pre-fabricated trench drain systems come in one long-lasting, yet lightweight piece. It took just two workers to carry them around and set them in place. Kiewit estimated its team installed each drain within two to three hours, making them at least two to three times faster than comparable systems.

“We’re already recommending them to other jobs in the works—all over the country. We’re telling our guys ‘Hey, these are the drains we’ve found that are the easiest.’”

Kiewit expects to complete the project on time, while upholding its safety and quality business model.



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