According to ODOT, on an average day, more than 171,000 vehicles travel that stretch of road. That posed a significant safety issue for crews who would work both night and day paving. Thus ODOT closed I-84 over the July 12 through 14 weekend to allow paving on the three eastbound lanes of the 5.5-mile stretch and closed the interstate over the July 19 through 21 weekend to allow paving on the westbound lanes. That gave OMP 55 hours each weekend to get in, do the job and get out. They succeeded through the excellent planning of experienced workers.
About 95 to 100 percent of OMP’s work comes from ODOT projects each year, according to Vice President Matt Seehawer, who has been with the company since April of 2006. He started as a general manager and now oversees everything from production to testing to paving.
“My job is rewarding and fun on many levels,” Seehawer shared. He listed the industry itself as the No.1 part of his job that he enjoys the most. “I work in an industry of great people. I have experienced heavy highway construction in numerous states, within a variety of agencies, alongside plenty of contractors and subcontractors, and the common denominator I have found is great people. I am proud to be a member of such a hard working, great group of people.”
The hard work that OMP does put the company in a unique position for the I-84 job. “True inlay/preservation paving work constitutes probably 60 percent of what we do annually,” Seehawer said.
When ODOT needed someone to mill and repave along I-84, heavy highway contractor OMP located its portable CMI PTD-500 counter flow plant at the Baker Rock Farmington Road Quarry, which is about 26 miles from the work zone. The plant is rated for 500 tons per hour, but Seehawer explained they averaged a steady pace of 400 TPH.
“We placed 32,000 tons of mix in just under 80 hours over two weekends,” he shared. “The average TPH was about 400; however, there were times when the plant was running at nearly 600 TPH.”
Seehawer explained that they located the plant in the quarry in part because Baker Rock, OMP’s parent company, has a plant there already. In the event of any troubles, the Cedarapids E-500 could serve as backup. Baker Rock is primarily a commercial aggregate provider in the Portland area which has a construction division that specializes in asphalt paving for county and city municipalities. “Baker has a long history in the Portland metro market,” Seehawer said. “It’s a strong family business that is well respected. That reputation has been earned over many years and three generations of Bakers at the helm. They have great employees who work hard to get things done. We couldn’t have accomplished this project without their help and coordination.”
Coordination began with Plant Superintendent Bill Petrak, who has been with OMP for 27 years, and Plant Operator/Foreman John Livran, who has been with OMP for 16 years. They worked round-the-clock shifts to produce the Superpave Level 4 mix.
“Bill Petrak has developed an extensive knowledge of asphalt plants over several decades of training and on-the-job training. He is known throughout the plant community as a guy who can trouble-shoot almost any plant problem from electrical to mechanical and still get the impossible done safely, on time and under budget. John Livran is cut from the same cloth and trained by Bill to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Between these two and their crews of oilers and heavy duty mechanics, in over 80+ hours of continuous production time they were down a total of 45 minutes.”
The 80 hours Seehawer refers to include the two weekends of work. OMP’s contract allowed for the complete freeway closure to begin at 10 p.m. Friday. The milling, production and paving crews worked in concert to have the freeway open again by 5 a.m. Monday.