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Perfect Pipe

1009CP-PromoAfter two years, American Concrete Pipe Co. has earned bragging rights for a total of 1,692 units delivered ahead of schedule with zero defects Û for Michel's Tunneling on behalf of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District (MMSD). ACP supplied the multiyear, sewer-system upgrade project, accelerating its timetable by three months while logging no product rejections.

From start to finish, this project has been an astounding success, affirms American Concrete Pipe Vice President J.P. Nolan. While it's unusual to have close to 1,700 perfect pieces delivered to the jobsite, it's basically unheard of to have zero pieces rejected during the production process as well, but that's exactly what the ACP team accomplished.

Echoing Nolan's assessment, R.A. Smith resident engineer Dick Schluge, enlisted by MMSD for the project, observed that a zero rejection rate on so large a job is rare and a significant factor in its timely progress. Working on a project where we don't have to send pipe back, we're never short on any individual day, so the job keeps moving along on schedule.

The contract entailed installation of 84-in.-wide x 8-ft.-long concrete pipe at a depth of 80 feet to upgrade and improve Milwaukee's Menomonee River Valley sewer line. In total, American Concrete Pipe supplied more than 13,500 linear feet of pipe. The producer emphasizes that concrete components used for deep tunneling projects like the MMSD system upgrade are subjected to a rigorous inspection process. Immediately following fabrication until the piece is unloaded upon delivery, each unit is examined on multiple occasions at both plant and job site.


ACP's impressive track record is one of several factors that spurred customer demand prompting the company Û a Spancrete subsidiary operating Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wis., plants Û to expand capacity with a customized precast box culvert production system, designed and engineered in house. The setup supports a proprietary production process.

Although we were the first in the [Wisconsin and upper Michigan] area to produce precast box culverts on a machine 50 years ago, says Nolan, they were recently reintroduced amidst industry needs for the ability to retain as well as move greater volumes of water. The new production systems allow rapid and cost-effective order fulfillment, he adds.

Precast box culverts, varied in size to meet particular job specifications, can handle higher volumes of water movement than conventional units, the company emphasizes. Moreover, the culverts provide increased containment capacity, even with a reduced overall height; and, in tight installations, allow heavy equipment to rest on and work off the structures. Box culverts are highly versatile, Nolan explains. Not only can they move water, but they can also act as a holding tank, effectively replacing retention ponds or serving needs in low-elevation areas.

The benefits for secondary road bridge replacements of using precast box culverts include up to 80 percent reduced construction time, since the product is fabricated offsite, thereby reducing the duration of secondary-road closure. Especially suitable for fast-moving transportation and infrastructure projects, company officials affirm, precast box culverts can accommodate an Interstate road load.

A large, upcoming municipal project near Lake Butte des Morts, Wis., will require installation of box culverts below the lake's water-elevation level. A pump will be used to move water from culvert to lake, though water will be held in the culvert as needed. American Concrete Pipe is fabricating custom components to meet project specifications. Û