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Infrastructure Keeps Us Moving

We provide the products and systems
that help you build it faster and stronger.

Solutions for Infrastructure Projects

The services, facilities, and systems needed for modern-day communities and economies to thrive are known as infrastructure. Infrastructure keeps our products moving, our people healthy, and our country competitive. From mass transit, roads, and bridges to the energy distribution system and water supply, infrastructure keeps civilization moving forward.

Whether it’s a public transportation project or an underground stormwater management system for a private development, the success of infrastructure projects often depends on speed and logistics. And, for decades, CRH has worked with project teams to help solve these challenges. If you need help with a challenging schedule, road closures, or a unique design, we can get involved with your project early to offer the support and systems to keep your project on track.

Below we look at some of the challenges infrastructure projects face and products and solutions from CRH that can help you solve them.

It’s been said that transportation infrastructure is the backbone of a country's economy. Year after year, we hear about plans to modernize and reinvest in these systems in order to create jobs, increase wages, strengthen the economy, reduce the costs of goods, and most importantly, keep us safe.

Asphalt-High_road-CornerstoneWhen transportation departments and engineers look to develop or modernize existing roads and highways, one of the biggest challenges is how to do so with minimal impact to the local community. Such concerns include the timing of closures, impact on traffic, noise, emissions, and wildlife.

One way to minimize the concerns that people have with roadway development or expansion is for agencies to involve suppliers early. CRH and other product manufacturers encourage this to minimize schedule and traffic interruptions. Often, we can provide systems-based solutions in the manufacturing plant or through delivery and logistics that can shorten schedule. Having the products and materials sourced locally and available to arrive on-site quickly can turn a week-long ordeal into a two-night breeze.

Project Spotlight: Emergency Highway Repair in Detroit, Michigan

In early February of 2018, the Michigan Department of Transportation contacted Cadillac Asphalt, a CRH Company, to see if it was possible to open one of its Hot Mix Asphalt plants in the middle of winter. The harsh winter had taken its toll on Detroit’s highway system and emergency repairs were needed.

Cadillac coordinated with other CRH companies, including Stoneco Materials to provide aggregates and Michigan Paving and Materials to provide asphalt, cement, and bond coat. The team removed nine inches of snow from the roadways, and the project was underway within a week.

Requiring 102 miles of lane closures, the project included 160,000 linear feet of detail seven joint repair and 8,000 tons of Hot Mix Asphalt on an 18-mile stretch of I-696 and 12 miles of I-75. The collaborative effort by CRH companies was critical to the project’s successful completion at the end of March.

Products for Roads and Highways

Whether you’re working on a new highway or a road improvement, CRH businesses supply many materials that can be used for your next roadway project, including:

Similar to roads and highways, the challenges a construction team faces when constructing or replacing a bridge are based around logistics and minimizing impact to the people in the area. Speed is often the biggest challenge, as closing a major roadway can have a significant bearing on how goods and services are delivered and how easily people can travel. Additionally, safety is an important concern on bridge renovation and demolition sites. There may be blasting, work around utilities, work at heights, work over water, and welding and cutting.

One solution for bridge construction is a cast-in-place system that requires a substructure be completed prior to fabrication. Using forms, ready mixed concrete is trucked in where it cures on site. Depending on your project’s requirements, bridge size, and proximity to a precast manufacturing plant, ready mixed concrete may be the logical solution.

Project Spotlight: Diverging Diamond Interchange in Ft. Myers, Florida

Preferred Materials, a CRH Company, supplied over 2,500 cubic yards of concrete for a total of 6 bridges and 135,000 tons of asphalt for the  I-75 and University diverging interchange, which was the first in the state of Florida.

For this fast-paced project, Preferred also provided logistics and services which included paving over a steel temporary bridge, an innovative approach that provides smooth rides and minimizes the impact of lane closures, traffic shifts, and temporary detour routes. 

An alternative to cast-in-place is accelerated bridge construction (ABC) which uses innovative planning, design, materials, and methods to reduce onsite construction time and to minimize workers’ exposure to safety hazards. Precast bridge systems meet this strategy as they are delivered to the site ready to be installed and with specifications already met. This approach can reduce the construction schedule, as precast girders eliminate the need for temporary falsework. No deck forms are needed, which can also shorten the schedule.

Additionally, precast concrete can reduce wildlife impact. Pre-engineered bridge systems have little impact on existing waterways, protecting natural stream beds and fish. 

By working with your product manufacturer early on your next bridge rehabilitation or new project, they can help you coordinate logistics around street closures or delivery of large structures to the site. CRH experts understand the importance of minimizing impact to the traveling public and sourcing products within close proximity to your project.

Products for Bridges

CRH manufactures several products that can be used for your next bridge build, including:

Water is quite literally the essence of life. The United Nations predicts that the world's population will reach 8 billion by 2024 and more than 9 billion by 2040. Whether it's water for drinking, cleaning, agriculture, or economic productivity, every one of these people needs clean water for survival. And, as water is such a finite natural resource, we must take care to move it, capture it, and treat it in manners that reduce the possibility of adding pollutants or wasting it. 

Whether you are involved with a wastewater, stormwater, or potable water project, working with a product manufacturer who can supply more than the individual products is important. CRH works with developers, architects, and general contractors early on water projects to find a systems-based approach to meet the needs of the entire project team and the public while following all best management practices (BMPs).  

Wastewater

treatment-plant-wastewater

Wastewater is any water contaminated by human influence, and with the growing population placing a higher demand on natural resources, wastewater treatment is more important than ever. Wastewater needs treated before it is released back into nature to minimize the impact on the environment, wildlife, and human health.

Sewage

Sewage must be moved miles to wastewater treatment plants. Pipes, manholes, and lift/pump stations are all integral to the conveyance of it. CRH manufactures these products in addition to dry wells, wet wells, and septic tanks to meet your needs. 

Food Service Establishments

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) that are created from commercial restaurants and kitchens can damage the public sewer system. For the health and safety of the public, grease interceptors are used to separate the FOG from other liquid and solids. CRH grease interceptors include innovative, high-performance features which, when combined with BMPs, will significantly reduce the amount of FOG entering the sewer system. Additionally, proper ventilation and regular maintenance will reduce bacterial growth and acidic PH levels which are common in wastewater applications.

Products for Wastewater

Precast concrete resists buoyant forces to secure internal effluent, while protecting external surrounding ground and surface water quality. CRH's line of wastewater products includes:

Stormwater

Reducing Runoff

As we continue to build homes, businesses, multi-use developments, highways, and more, the water runoff that used to percolate into the ground no longer has a natural place to go. It’s essential that developers incorporate stormwater management best practices into their projects to mitigate the effects of development.

Moving stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces through a drainage system is key to getting it where it needs to go, whether it be a harvesting system, treatment tank, or a downstream creek. Such a conveyance system needs to be designed and implemented according to local requirements, and depending on the need, might include reinforced concrete pipes, inlets, catch basins, manholes, ditches, depressions, or swales, to just name a few.

Controlling runoff volume from developed sites is key to preventing habitat degradation and erosion of local channels. Capturing and controlling the release of runoff can prevent these problems while recharging groundwater and replenishing local aquifers. Depending on local requirements, stormwater and greywater can also be harvested and reused, reducing municipal water consumption for landscape irrigation, toilet flushing, and cooling towers. CRH offers such solutions which can also help meet low-impact development (LID) requirements or earn points towards LEED credits.

Reducing Stormwater Pollutants

In addition to building the infrastructure that helps reduce runoff volume due to increased urbanization, state and local regulations often require developers to treat stormwater and remove collected pollutants to improve water quality as it flows downstream. The goal is to have minimal impact on the surrounding environment.

The pollutants that come off of our paved streets, parking lots, and rooftops include sediment, trash, metals, nutrients, petroleum hydrocarbons (oil and grease), total suspended solids (TSS), and more that can affect wildlife and habitats downstream.

Products for Stormwater

CRH has worked with state and local jurisdictions to create pollutant reduction systems that meet stormwater BMPs. Products that can help with your efforts to reduce pollutants include:

Potable Water

The United States' potable fresh water delivery system is made up of over one million miles of underground pipe which is not always interconnected. To this day, the infrastructure that provides us with the water needed to survive is made from a variety of conveyance materials, including steel, plastic, concrete, clay, and even wood. In fact, there are over 240,000 water main breaks that waste over 2 trillion gallons of fresh, treated drinking water every year.

Unfortunately, water system upgrades are competing for limited funds that are also needed to fix bridges, roadways, dams and more.

CRH's multi-solution approach gives you the ability to choose from a variety of materials that meet your project's requirements. Whether you need traffic-rated precast valve boxes, Polyethylene meter boxes, or pipes and manholes, our products offer you reliability and strength to withstand ample water volumes and extreme loading conditions that water requires.

Products for Potable Water

From polymers to concrete, CRH manufacturers potable water products made out of a variety of materials, including:

Consistent service with zero downtime is important for our daily lives, whether we’re talking about the internet at our home or office, generators at a major hospital, or electricity at a school. And, because of the infrastructure needed to produce and deliver dependent services, utilities and power are expensive to build and maintain.

Electric-BoeingBatteryBuildingPower and Energy

The disruption of power can cost the economy billions in the form of lost production capacity, loss of data, idle workers, and more. Whether we’re talking about a regional power grid or a data center, major outages can be caused by capacity, storms, changing specifications, outdated technology, and terrorism, among other things. Utility equipment failure is another cause that often comes without warning.

For projects with underground power infrastructure, select products that both protect and provide access to below-ground utility lines and equipment. Underground concrete electrical vaults, which are also referred to as splice boxes and switchgear vaults, are an alternative to running electrical cables above ground and across poles. Such vaults come in a variety of configurations and offer the rigidity and protection that critical infrastructure housing needs.

For above-ground lighting and energy considerations such as light pole bases, cast-in-place systems involve ordering specific bolts, setting rebar cages, pouring concrete, and the cost of having an electrician on site several times. CRH offers pre-manufactured pole bases and foundations that are often more cost and time efficient because they are in stock and ready for pickup the day you need them. And, because they are constructed in a controlled environment, they can meet clearly defined technical specifications.

To help alleviate the disruption that a power loss can have, generators and power backups that provide emergency power can ensure critical systems remain operational until public utilities are restored. Fuel storage tanks can be stored on-site in quantities that allow the owner to determine the length of time desired to run critical systems.

Communications

The world of communication has expanded from the telegraph and telephone to broadband, radio, microwaves, fiber optics, and satellites. And, just like power and electricity, a disruption in communications services can have huge costs. CRH offers a variety of products that meet the ever-changing demands of telecom and communications services along with the new technologies the communications providers are introducing.

Vaults with controlled environments offer a secure space for servers and steady power for customers and can be built and deployed quickly per the utility’s requirements. Additionally, precast equipment pads and cable trenches provide the durability needed for cables and equipment during all weather conditions. From large-scale data centers, to shelter buildings at the base of a cell phone tower, to microcell vaults holding ever-shrinking communications equipment, CRH covers the range of data storage and communications protection equipment that service providers need. 

Products for Power and Utilities

Whether you need plastic, concrete, or polymer concrete, CRH has a variety of products available that can keep your power and utilities safe, including:

Rail is the most economical means of moving freight and industrial products across the country. Trains transport more goods than other form of transportation throughout the United States. However, even as the infrastructure system ages and funding gets cut, the demand for rail is expected to increase as road congestion goes up.

In order to keep up with increasing demand, freight line maintenance is an ongoing battle. The rail lines look for systems that can supplement heavy loads since new intermodal facilities are not being constructed. Additionally, older traditional systems are suffering from differential settlement, leading to operational issues and failure.

A challenge for rail lines is upgrading such older systems, including at-grade crossing surfaces so that they can handle increased truckloads – all with minimal impact on traffic. Transit and passenger lines experience similar challenges especially with minimizing traffic delays in densely populated areas.

Another common challenge is dealing with incidental spills that occur during transfer operations, locomotive maintenance, or tanker car spills, among other situations. Railroad track pans and spill systems often contain hazardous materials either in-line (between the rails) or on the sides of the tracks.

CRH’s modular rail systems let the contractor get in and get out in the middle of heavy trafficked areas quickly and safely. They can help reduce traffic interruptions and operational downtime for freight, transit, and industrial lines. Additionally, modular products which are often made of precast concrete are more consistent since they are manufactured under factory-controlled conditions, and they have competitive costs since cross ties and ballasts are eliminated, they have a thinner track profile, and installation is faster. Another benefit is the expected life of over 30 years compared to 5 to 10 for traditional rail crossings.

Project Spotlight: UPRR Crossing in Englewood, Colorado

The rail crossing along State Highway 85 south of Denver, CO, had seen decades of traffic and desperately needed to be repaired. At the time of the repair, this particular stretch of road saw over 70,000 cars per day, and the weekend-long closure was expected to cause severe delays. The Colorado Department of Transportation chose the pre-engineered StarTrack® railroad system from Oldcastle Infrastructure to make the repairs.

By using StarTrack, the contractor was able to begin the project on a Friday night after the rush hour and complete the project in hours, preventing major traffic delays. The road was open again for the Monday morning commute. 

“It’s a challenge to have a roadway like that closed down so being able to close this for a short period of time – one time – was a major benefit for us,” said Colorado Department of Transportation Utility Manager Mat Flores.

Watch the Time-Lapse Video

Products for Railways

Whether you need railway solutions for freight, commuter, or light rail, CRH manufactures a variety of durable modules, including:

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) estimates that the United States needs to spend nearly $35 Billion on airport capital development between 2019 and 2023. Over half of this development is intended to accommodate growth in passenger and cargo activity. Thirty-eight percent of the development is intended to rehabilitate existing infrastructure, maintain a state of good repair, keep airports up to standards for the aircraft that use them and increasing traffic demand.

Tampa-Airport

Whether the airport project requires minor interior renovations to a terminal, a large design-build endeavor requiring runway, facility, and building upgrades, or even building entirely new terminals and parking facilities, airport infrastructure projects can benefit from having a supplier involved early to provide guidance. Site layout planning can impact cost, productivity, and safety, and logistics planning around material delivery on congested sites can be difficult.

During the 2016 expansion of the Tampa International Airport, the aviation authority needed a team that could complete terminal expansions quickly to minimize the impact on the flying public. Skanska Building USA was selected as General Contractor for major portions of the work, and they consulted with the CRH team to create innovative product solutions.

CRH works closely with developers, architects, and general contractors early for these types of projects to help ease the challenges that can come with such large and high-profile projects. Our team of product experts can offer everything from design assistance and logistical support to a full suite of products that work together as a vertically-integrated system.

There are close to 91,000 dams in the United States, and the average age is 56 years old. As dams age, they require constant maintenance with a cost in excess of $60 billion to rehabilitate them. If they are not fixed, dam failures can lead to death and major devastation downstream.

Dam-Smithland-Hydro-ElectricAs the Department of Homeland Security, the Dams Sector Coordinating Council, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, State officials, and dam owners, among others, coordinate to improve and build new dams across the country, many things must be considered, including, but not limited to: maintenance, concrete stability, operations, deliberate acts of destruction, construction material, regional water-supply needs, geological conditions, lifecycle costs, and failure potential.

Concrete products and materials from CRH can be used for both new dam construction and for rehabilitation. Such products have a number of advantages including ease of construction including in underwater scenarios, minimal cracking, speed, improved appearance, and low future maintenance costs. Examples include aggregates, ready mixed concrete, and pre-stressed concrete sheet pilings.

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