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Standard manufactures pilings, slabs, girders, and box beams at its Tampa plant.
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Concrete is charged into a form at one of Standard Concrete Products Inc.'s 20 manufacturing areas at its Tampa, Fla., plant. The facility has two twin beds capable of withstanding 3 million pounds each of stressing force in addition to one triple bed.

Standard has been manufacturing precast concrete for damaged bridges for more than 13 years. Its first major project was in 1996, when it was still known as Hardaway. A fuel tanker explosion damaged an I-75 bridge. The entire span was leveled and rebuilt.

The DOT initially estimated construction would take six to eight months. But Hardaway delivered the necessary precast concrete two days after the designs were made. The 18-day task was one of the most effectively managed public works projects on record in the state. Robertson was Hardaway's project engineer at the time.

“Florida is a concrete state,” he says. “Most of our bridges are concrete and you can manufacture concrete and install it faster than you can a steel bridge or any other type of material. There is no other material that can do what we do with concrete.”

IVAN AND KATRINA

Standard's biggest projects are repairs following hurricanes. “That's a complete rebuild,” Robertson says. Standard has done emergency rebuilds following both Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina a year later. Standard manufactured concrete for the I-10 Bridge over Escambia Bay after Ivan and the U.S. 90 bridge over the St. Louis Bay in Mississippi after Katrina.

Robertson uses one word to describe bridge repair projects: coordination. While Robertson is on the phone with David Volkert & Associates, the DOT's designer, or the ICA, he is also talking with Gerdau Ameristeel, Standard's steel provider. He also is in touch with Standard's foremen and superintendent, organizing the manufacturing and inventorying the product that already is onsite.

“Our foremen have been with us for an average of 12 to 15 years. This is a very complex, labor intensive operation,” Robertson says. “Our superintendent, Shawn Regan, is very good about rallying the troops and getting the right people on it.”

One evening in June 2008, a fuel tanker swerved to avoid an out of control vehicle, slid on a rain-slick road and dropped off an I-75 overpass in Ellenton. The tanker exploded and an inferno rose from the highway below that burned through the night, destroying the busy overpass.

When the sun rose the next morning, Robertson was at the scene, surveying the damage and assessing the needs. And at sunrise three days after the crash, Standard delivered the precast.

Visit Standard Concrete Products at www.standardconcrete.net.