Texas Industries Inc. Relies on Kenworth Trucks To Deliver and Place Concrete in High-Profile Projects
DALLAS, Texas. – It is said that they do things big in Texas. Take the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s 25-story building at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, and Sam Rayburn Tollway north of Dallas. All three high-profile projects, representing a total of $4.8 billion in public and private funding, involve some of the most challenging concrete structures ever built in the state. Right in the “mix” of the three projects is Dallas-based Texas Industries Inc. (TXI), a leading supplier of cement, aggregate and consumer product building materials.
The $1.15 billion Cowboys Stadium has the world’s tallest open end-zone plazas at 120 feet high by 180 feet wide. The stadium’s two most recognizable features – two quarter-mile long arches – allow for the National Football League’s first center-hung scoreboard and help support the retractable roof. TXI’s fleet, which features 150 Kenworth T800 and W900S mixers, delivered much of the concrete to support the massive arches and the low-iron glass panels.
There were so many contractors working on the stadium, it was especially important for TXI to be able to rely on its trucks to get the job done. “Our Kenworth trucks were always up and running,” said Rick Welton, operations manager for TXI’s North Texas ready mix division. “That’s important, not only for the work we were doing, but also because any downtime can delay the work of other contractors.” Cowboys Stadium opened in June with an inaugural concert by country artists Reba McEntire, George Strait, Lee Ann Womack, and Blake Shelton.
TXI’s Kenworth mixers are delivering concrete to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s new $350 million administrative support building. When work began late last year, TXI was called upon by general contractor Vaughn Construction and Baker Concrete Construction to help place a concrete mat foundation seven feet thick with about a two-acre surface area. It was reportedly the largest mat pour ever performed in Texas, and the country’s second largest mat placement after the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.
“The Houston area sits on clays, shales and sand several miles thick, so there’s no bedrock on which to build a foundation for a nearly 1.4 million square-foot building,” said Robert Conrad, TXI operations manager for South Texas. “We had to create a foundation by arranging for the delivery of 17,500 cubic yards of ready mixed concrete in a continuous pour over the course of 24 hours.”
Robert Conrad, TXI’s South Texas operations manager, (left), and Kevin Terna, TXI’s South Texas ready mix distribution manager, rely heavily on the dependability of their company’s Kenworth trucks to successfully plan and coordinate high-profile concrete placements.
The challenging pour required the participation of TXI’s ready-mixed operations in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Longview, and Louisiana. The concrete came from five plants throughout the Houston area ranging from 4 to 17 miles away, which required extensive coordination, according to Conrad.
“Driver comfort was an absolute essential because the project required us to slip seat the trucks in two shifts,” Conrad said. “The drivers worked at a fast pace for up to 15 hours with little time for breaks. Due to the speed of the placement, drivers were instructed to stay in their trucks and only get out if absolutely necessary.”
Projects like this demonstrate why TXI specifies the Kenworth Extended Day Cab on its Kenworth mixer trucks. “The Kenworth Extended Day Cab gives drivers additional leg room and the ability to stretch out,” Conrad said. “That extra two cubic feet of storage space behind the driver’s seat provides more room to store extra gear and their lunches. Providing our drivers with a comfortable work environment contributed to the success of the mat foundation pour.”
Jesse Sanchez, TXI Ready Mix driver of the year, appreciates the roominess and quietness of his Kenworth T800. Sanchez said the Kenworth Extended Day Cab makes it easier to carry all the necessary equipment such as a raincoat, a hardhat and other personal protection equipment and appropriate paperwork.
TXI’s Kenworth mixers are also helping to build a 26-mile stretch of the newly named Sam Rayburn Tollway, formerly known as State Highway 121, which will link the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to growing communities to the northeast with a six-lane, all-electronic toll road. The tollway is named for U.S. Rep. Sam Rayburn of Texas, who served in Congress for over 48 years, including nearly 18 years as Speaker of the House. The North Texas Transit Authority’s $3.3 billion tollway and U.S. Interstate 75 Interchange project is being done in five segments and is scheduled for completion in 2012.
Leo Fellin, TXI architectural sales manager, said the company has a lot riding on the successful placement of concrete for the 50-foot columns that will support the northbound and southbound decks of the tollway. “Uniformity has been absolutely critical in the placement of the concrete, particularly since the architect and contractor chose TXI’s Terra Tone™ product,” Fellin said. “We’re relying heavily on the performance of our Kenworth trucks in order for us to get proper placement of the concrete.”
The reliability and durability of Kenworth trucks, plus their application-focused engineering and critical after-the-sale support provided by local dealers have helped TXI meet the challenges involved in all three major projects.
“Kenworth trucks and our local dealers, MHC Kenworth and Performance Kenworth, help us avoid downtime,” said Conrad. “Downtime on any of our many projects would slow TXI’s ability to serve customers (general contractors) and hurt our reputation. Our trucks don’t cause project delays, and that helps general contractors avoid extra labor costs.”
TXI, which buys its Kenworth trucks from MHC Kenworth, equips the trucks with the Bendix ABS-6 Advanced anti-lock braking system with ESP® (Electronic Stability Program). “The Bendix system makes our drivers feel more comfortable knowing that the system will assist them in controlling the truck in adverse weather and other unforeseen circumstances,” Conrad said. “The sloped hood on the Kenworth T800 and W900S also give the driver improved forward visibility, which allow them to maneuver in crowded work sites.”
With a major cement plant located in New Braunfels and one in Midlothian, Texas, plus cement plants in Oro Grande and Crestmore, Calif., and 24 aggregate sites with concrete batch plants in California, Louisiana and Texas, TXI is the leading supplier of cement, aggregate and consumer product material in the three states. The materials TXI produces are used in all types of construction—residential, commercial and public works. Its primary markets are in California and Texas.
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