Heavy civil contractor, Zak Dirt, founded in 1976, is based in Long- mont, Colorado, an hour north of Denver. With comprehensive earth- work and concrete services, the company performs mass excavation, grading, roadwork, water conveyance and storage and utility installa- tion for public and private entities. Among its many notable projects, the company is the prime contractor on the $31 million CO 119 Boul- der Canyon Improvements project. Business Challenge The $31 million CO 119 Boulder Canyon Improvements project involves the repair of a 15-mile stretch of flood-damaged Colorado Highway 119 between Boulder and Nederland. The one-year project requires the tracking of approximately 41,000 cubic yards of material, among other tasks. The team needs topo maps to help track progress and calculate volume quantities, but conventional survey methods in the steep canyon terrain would be too dangerous and difficult. Solution Implement a survey-grade drone platform: • More reliable, accurate and current topographic maps of jobsite • Opportunity to perform complex measurements and analysis • Faster, more accurate material volumes quantities from rock scaling • Improved site logistics and project progress tracking • More streamlined data gathering process for future projects The $31 million CO 119 Boulder Canyon Improvements project involves the repair of a 15-mile stretch of Colorado Highway 119 between Boulder and Nederland that was damaged during flooding in 2013. • Trimble Stratus • Propeller PPK • DJI Phantom4 RTK Benefits As the lead contractor on this project, heavy/highway contractor Zak Dirt is replacing two miles of highway and stormwater drainage pipes under the highway, resurfacing another 13 miles of roadway, repairing soft shoulder areas to reduce chance of rockfalls on the highway as well as associated embankment reconstruction and re-establishment of native grass on slopes. The entire project is on track for completion by summer 2020, weather dependent. It’s a challenging and dangerous project, which requires considerable excavation, removal and replacement of materials along the highway and the canyon slopes—a task Zak Dirt is well equipped to handle with a little help from survey-grade drone solutions to plan and track work progress. Fast Topo Maps Keep Boulder Canyon Highway Project on Track
Colorado-contractor Zak Dirt used survey-grade drone technology from Trimble on the repair of a 15-mile stretch of highway in Boulder Canyon, improving site logistics, progress tracking and overall efficiency
On the Rocks An integral part of the Boulder Canyon project is widening the road and scaling rock faces to reduce the chance of rockfalls. Zak Dirt esti- mates approximately 41,000 cubic yards of material will be blasted to complete the highway improvement project. Angelo Mancina, Zak Dirt’s corporate treasurer who also handles GPS surveying, said, “Large and complex earthwork and highway projects, such as the CO 119 Boulder Canyon Improvements project, require considerable material management.” Mancini adds that typically, the contractor relies on topo maps, both before and during a project, to track material removal and ensure design specifications are met. However, the location of the project in the Boulder Canyon limits sur- vey opportunities. “It would be too dangerous for ground-based crews to survey the terrain from the ground, taking shots up and down a slope,” Mancina said. “There’s absolutely no way that would be done. By the time we did a topo of the canyon and got it back, we would be two months past when we needed it.” Looking for a way to keep his people out of harm’s way, but still get the invaluable topo data, Zak Dirt looked at drones and visualization platforms, ultimately selecting Trimble Stratus powered by Propeller. Material Movement For the Boulder Canyon job, Zak Dirt is using the Trimble Stratus platform to map project progress, particularly volumes of materials moved, and adapt work scopes as needed. Mancini said that it’s critically important to measure the volumes coming out of the blasts, adding that dirt moves around nonstop, and a job like this is a continuous cycle of displacing and replacing. Without Trimble Stratus, the Zak Dirt team would have to measure volumes by truck counts and coordinate with the Colorado Depart- ment of Transportation.
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