Special Assessment District #228

Removing boulders to allow trenching for utilities

Removing boulders to allow trenching for utilities

Owner: City of Albuquerque
Engineer: Wilson & Company
Location of Project: Albuquerque, NM
Contract Amount: $26,750,711
Completion Date: June 2014

AUI’s largest site development project to date, Special Assessment District (SAD) #228 consisted of 72-acres of site work including:

  • Over 65,000 CY of rock excavation requiring extensive blasting and rock trenching
  • Over 200,000 CY of import fill material
  • Over 50,000 TN of base course material
  • Over 200,000 SY of superpave asphalt concrete
  • Over 90,000 LF of concrete work that included curb and gutter, sidewalks, ADA ramps, and driveways
  • Over 12,000 LF of reinforced concrete pipe in various diameters from 18-in to 96-in
  • Approximately 38,000 LF of 8-in to 18-in diameter PVC sanitary sewer pipe installation, 2,000 LF of 6-in ductile iron forcemain, and 1,500 LF of 2-in PVC forcemain, plus a lift station
  • Over 200 manholes ranging in diameter from 4-ft to 10-ft
  • Approximately 42,000 LF of 4-in to 12-in diameter PVC waterline requiring over 30,000 lbs of ductile iron fittings
  • Water and sanitary services to approximately 430 individually owned properties
  • Over 66,000 LF of dry utility installation to include electrical, communication, and natural gas infrastructure
  • Signalization and lighting
  • Signage and striping
  • Garden walls and landscaping
  • Bike trail

The extensive rock removal on the project had numerous challenges. Basalt formations were very diverse and unpredictable; a single formation could contain voids, veins, and cracks which made blasting difficult due to the unpredictable release of pressure. Blasting was required directly above existing residences and both above and adjacent to active arterial roadways. The entire site was adjacent the Petroglyph National Monument, containing federally protected artifacts. We mitigated these challenges by using vibration and air blast monitoring for all rock blasts, utilizing both permanent and roving monitoring stations.

The fixed Owner’s budget with minimal contingency required careful budget management, especially since the entire design was preliminary and had to be constantly modified to meet the intent. We were also required to provide access to over 300 private land owners throughout the project.

Mayor Richard Berry and other dignitaries cut the ribbon on the finished Project

Mayor Richard Berry and other dignitaries cut the ribbon on the finished Project


New Mexico Department of Transportation
Project Location:Otero County,NM
Contract Amount: $1,417,898








This project originally consisted of five phases of construction.  Four involved removal and replacement of existing concrete wall barrier (CWB), and/or gabion baskets utilizing the existing gabion rock.  The fifth phase entailed removing several large boulders that loomed over the existing highway and had the potential, after heavy rains, to roll off the hillside and impact the traveling public and roadway surface.

The first phase included the construction of three extended shoulder areas.  AUI constructed these areas first to facilitate the subsequent detour of traffic to the newly widened roadway in order to better accommodate the removal and replacement of the gabion baskets and/or CWB.  AUI’s Project Management Team opted to incorporate the three separate shoulder widening areas into one traffic control setup.  This enabled the traveling public to be inconvenienced only one time versus the three times under the original Traffic Control Plan.

The fifth phase, which called for the removal of the ominous boulders, was completed under a separate Traffic Control Plan that required a total closure of the roadway for short scheduled periods of time.

Originally, the intent was to utilize the existing gabion rock in the new baskets.  However, shortly after AUI started the removal of the gabions, it was clear that new gabion rock material would be required to complete the gabion baskets per the intent of the construction drawings.

In addition to the gabion rock, other major bid items included 9,600 SY of rock scaling; 1,100 CY of rock excavation; 4,700 CY of unclassified excavation; 2,274 SY of detour pavement; 3,300 CY of gabion removal and replacement; and placement of 1,150 LF of state-furnished CWB.

For this contract, AUI also retained the services of a Public Awareness Officer, just as we did for the otherUS82 project (foregoing listed Project No. 2).  In addition, AUI implemented an extensive flagging operation which included runaway truck spotters in conjunction with trained and certified flagpersons.

NMDOT CN HE203, TPZ-(HSP)-082-1(24)03

New Mexico Department of Transportation
Project Location:Otero County,NM
Contract Amount:  $1,633,142








This project was broken up into two different phases.  The first was to re-slope or layback an area adjacent to the highway that had experienced a lot of rock falls.  AUI was able to accomplish this without blasting by using a large excavator with a hydraulic hammer and transporting material to an area requiring fill beside the highway.

The second phase of the project was at the tunnel area on the highway. The work included the scaling down of loose rock, building a large retaining wall with colored patterned concrete and rock retaining fence for future protection of the roadway and the complete rebuilding of the visitor parking/turn out area adjacent to the tunnel (concrete sidewalk, curb and gutter and new pavement).

Both of these phases utilized many different traffic control setups and flagging operations to maintain continuous traffic movement as well as safety for the public and workers.  Due to the extent of public relations activities needed for this project, AUI retained the services of a Public Awareness Officer.  This Officer coordinated with and/or maintained continuous communication channels with Cloudcroft businesses, the US Forest Service (high fire danger), highway trucking traffic, the media and other agencies concerning construction activities, scheduling and traffic interruptions.

The project consisted of over 13,000 CY of both rock and unclassified excavation also including 4,000 CY of rock scaling.  The new lookout area was constructed when approximately 1,200 SY of detour paving was placed to detour travelers away from the 2,140 SY of permanent minor paving needed to complete the lookout area.  The major portion of the retaining wall was constructed using over 312 CY of structural concrete and over 27,000 pounds of rebar.  By eliminating the blasting operations, the project was able to save over $ 61,000.

Exit 102 Acomita I-40 Interchange at MP 102.000

New Mexico Department of Transportation (Owner)
Contract Amount: $3,851,057 (AUI Subcontracted portion)

This project is one of the first bridge/interchange projects that utilized roundabouts at the on and off ramps.  The newly constructed bridge over I-40 was built approximately 1000’ west of the existing interchange.  The two-span, 200’ long twin bridges contained many aesthetic features from custom formliners to custom-stained concrete.  Traffic was never interrupted during the construction of the new bridge or during the widening of the existing bridges.   This was a very challenging portion of the project as the existing interchange bridges had to be partially demolished and widened without disrupting traffic on either I-40 or Old NM 124 running underneath the bridge.  AUI devised a method utilizing steel beams and heavy duty shoring to accommodate this unique challenge.  AUI was a subcontractor to Kirkland Construction who was responsible for the paving and earthwork on the project.  AUI constructed all of the concrete flat work on the project along with all concrete structures on the project including but not limited to curb and gutter, sidewalk, drop inlets, PCCP, colored/ patterned median paving, bridges, concrete box culverts and concrete slope blankets.

A major challenge on the project was the location.  The Acomita area is well known for its harsh winters.  The majority of this project was constructed during the winter months.  AUI fought through numerous snow storms and many days where the wind chill factor brought temperatures down into the single digits; however, the project progressed and was never suspended due to weather.  AUI made provisions to accommodate cold weather concrete to the satisfaction of the NMDOT.  This project was been a great success and a fine example of collaboration between the contractors, the NMDOT and the Pueblo of Acoma.

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Photo of Mayor Richard Berry presenting Good Samaritan Award to Anthony Deluca.

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