The Fourth Ward Project was very well executed; however, it wasn’t without its challenges. From pop-up summer thunderstorms that rearranged our materials and delayed plans to stacking enormous granite stones with a claw, our superintendents, project managers, and crew members all worked together to resolve any challenges presented to them each workday. As always, our team worked flawlessly toward the end result and our dedication to detail and execution is certainly obvious to each visitor to Fourth Ward. Visitors who walk areas and climb stairs with no inkling of the work it took to make it all come together.
Our first, and perhaps most daunting issue was getting concrete to the Beltline Plaza. This presented itself as a challenge since crews were not able to access the material via a truck that is, most often, nearby. Drivers had to park their trucks at the Fourth Ward Plaza quite a distance from the area to be poured. Additionally, heavy concrete trucks were placed a distance away from the structure due to a crash wall at the parking deck. Any closer placement would result in the structure’s collapse. How did our project superintendents solve this issue? The trucks were parked at a safe distance from the building, all the way down in the lower plaza, a long boom was extended from the truck and hundreds of feet of hose were attached to the boom. Every single pour along the Beltline was executed in this manner.
Another issue we were presented with was the incredible incline of the elevator stairs and walkway area. This space for the stairs themselves was so steep that our crews weren’t able to utilize any machinery which, of course, would make completing the job much easier. Instead, each stair footing was hand-excavated. It was a great task, yet one tackled as a team effort. In addition, the stairs were built and formed in three different pours.
The trees within the Beltline Plaza, 41 in total, posed a bit of a challenge as well. Due to strict guidelines, crews were unable to cross the Beltline during the day so as not to disrupt the daily visitors that travel along the path. Therefore, crews arrived during the night to move the 8-inch pines across and into the plaza and each tree had to be hand-set by crew members. The result was a Beltline that never closed and perfectly placed trees that were a surprise to those morning joggers passing by the plaza.
Three Trees Plaza, a raised area for gathering and viewing spaces below, presented our project managers and crew members with yet another challenge. The space contains around 1000 pedestal pavers. Doesn’t sound daunting until you realize that each paver weighs just over 300 pounds. How would our crews move this material into the space? The best and most efficient way was decided upon; a crane operator flew each paver into the area. Crew members carefully manipulated a 300-pound piece of material dangling from above and settled each piece into place. And they did it again and again; nearly 1000 times.
These issues were the most prominent challenges our team tackled. Many more day-to-day problems popped up as they do on every project; however, putting our heads together to solve these big complications made those more minor difficulties just that, minor. Although our team faced multiple issues during the 63,000 man-hours, we still finished on or well before our deadlines.