Florida DOT Approves Project Switch To Slide Rail

November 2012, Vol. 67, No. 11
When Haleakala encountered bore-ins or needed to install a manhole with leads, they used Quicksheet Guideframe.

Just one way: according to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), there was only one approved method for shoring a trench within the right-of-way of an Interstate -- driven tight sheeting.

So that was the shoring system in the bid when primary contractor Better Roads Inc. was chosen as low bidder to widen a critical stretch of Interstate I-75 near Tampa, including installing new storm sewers and other underground infrastructure.

But as most excavation contractors will tell you, tight sheeting a trench is time consuming, costly, requires specialized equipment and often means extended periods of down time for work crews.

“Installing sheet piling would have been tedious and could incur thousands of dollars in damages trying to drive the sheeting into the cap rock of the Pasco (Florida) area,” said Anthony Bosco, Project Manager for Haleakala Construction, Better Roads’ subcontractor responsible for installing 7,600 linear feet of new storm sewer RCP just 25-feet away from one of the busiest sections of freeway in the state.

Paul Strazzulla, shoring specialist for local equipment distributor Professional Shoring & Supply, had an opportunity to pitch to Better Roads and Haleakala the option of an Efficiency Production manufactured Slide Rail Shoring System as a potential alternative to sheeting. “Haleakala had used Slide Rail many times before, and so they knew it was a cost savings over sheeting,” said Strazzulla. “And Better Roads liked the idea that Slide Rail was a cheaper alternative to sheeting. It was really a matter of convincing the (Florida) DOT’s engineers that Slide Rail works like sheeting when it comes to meeting all the safety and environmental protection requirements.”

The Florida Department of Transportation originally required driven tight-sheeting as the only approved shoring method, until Better Roads and Efficiency Production were able to prove that a Slide Rail System is a cost-savings alternative to sheeting that meets all safety and environmental protection requirements.

“The cost savings was about 15 to 20 percent over sheeting,” said Brent Harrison, Better Roads’ Project Manager. “I’d say we are gaining about 30 to 35 percent more pipe production using Slide Rail. Plus, you can train a good pipe crew to install Slide Rail, rather than needing to hire a specialized sheeting contractor.”

Efficiency’s Universal Slide Rail is a component shoring system comprised of steel panels (similar to trench shield sidewalls) and vertical steel posts. The highly versatile system can be used in a variety of configurations.