Transportation officials are trying a new type of highway divider in the Wilmington, Del., area, according to a contractor who is one of the first to construct the prototype. Curbs Etc. of Smyrna slipformed nearly a mile of 6-foot divider as part of a recent contract with the Delaware Department of Transportation. And he did it in a single pass.
Most highway divider applications call for 24-inch curb, slipformed on both sides of a median and then filled in with concrete to the desired width. But Power Curbers factory built the mold with the two gutter pans. A total of 1,500 pounds of counter weight was added to the machine. The mold places a 48-inch-wide median with a 12-inch integral gutter on each side in a single pass.
"This 6-foot Delaware application is unique," said Charlie Ewing, son of company owner Carol Ewing.
He slipformed 5,000 linear feet of the 6-foot divider on adjoining jobs and 20,000 linear feet of 3-foot curb where the divider splits. He averaged 45 feet of concrete divider per truck — 10 yards of mix — compared to 160 feet per truck on curb and gutter.
Carol Ewing formed Curbs Etc. in 1989 and merged an existing landscaping business, Ewing Farms, into it in 1992. Currently, about 60 percent of the work is concrete and 40 percent is landscaping. Husband and dad, Mack, handles expediting men, equipment and materials to their jobs.
Sidewalk and curb work takes Charlie, the two machines and his crew within a 100-mile radius of their office.
"In order to bid competitively on large jobs, I would not have started the concrete company without a machine," says Carol.
Miguel Alvarez, concrete foreman and curb machine operator, has used other slipform curb machines in the past. He prefers the Power Curber due to its radius capabilities and its ability to pour up to catch basins. This eliminates additional labor and hand work.
Charlie excels at tight radius work. Recalling a job at the Sea Colony complex at Bethany Beach, Del., where wood timbers were ripped out and curb installed: "We call them compound radiuses," he says. "The hardest part is when you start at 2-1/2 feet and change to 3 feet, then wider within the same island. If the radiuses are all the same, say 5 feet, then the machine can do most of the work for you."