Concrete replacement projects race toward completion

Concrete replacement projects race toward completion

A crew of nearly 20 construction workers work concrete poured in the Union Plaza on City Campus on July 31. UNL schedules most concrete replacement projects between early July and late August, which is a time when there is less activity on campus.
Troy Fedderson | University Communications
A crew of nearly 20 construction workers work concrete poured in the Union Plaza on City Campus on July 31. UNL schedules most concrete replacement projects between early July and late August, which is a time when there is less activity on campus.

The summer of 2015 is being cemented as one of the busiest in terms of upgrading UNL's 35-plus miles of paved pedestrian pathways.

"If you walk across campus anywhere this summer, chances are you come across a concrete replacement project in progress," said Brian Larson, a project manager with Facilities Planning and Construction. "We try to minimize the impact these projects have on students, faculty, staff and visitors, however this summer has been incredibly busy."

Though concrete replacement can occur whenever the ground is not frozen, UNL schedules many projects between the end of summer camps and New Student Enrollment in early July, and the start of the fall semester in late August. Larson said decreased campus activity and agreeable weather patterns during that six-week window allow for large projects to be completed quickly.

"It's a bit of a race to get projects completed, but it allows us to get a lot of work done in a short time," Larson said. "And, as long as it's not too hot, concrete crews can be more productive later in the summer due to less rain fall."

Since spring break in March, UNL has replaced 4,222 square yards of concrete pavement — a total equal to 38,000 square feet, or enough to cover more than eight NCAA basketball courts.

Large summer projects have included the 12th Street Mall, Union Plaza and 11th Street entrance on City Campus, and the east to west mall on the north side of the East Union.

UNL has also completed a series of smaller concrete projects — primarily at crosswalks along Vine, 14th, 16th and 17th streets — to meet standards outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"All of the ADA projects go straight to the top of our repair list," Larson said. "Those are a priority because it is extremely important to us to have campus open and accessible to everyone."

Larson said the new crosswalks meet the most current ADA guidelines and match designs used by the city of Lincoln.

And, for the second year, UNL is using a higher quality mix of concrete and a sealant to help prevent damage from deicers used during winter months.

"With four or five major construction projects on campus, it has been a challenge to schedule concrete replacement projects so they make minimal pedestrian impacts," Larson said. "We definitely appreciate the patience shown by everyone who has had to take different routes when they were walking across campus this summer."

Now, Larson said the challenge is to complete the work in time for the start of classes on Aug. 24.

"We're in good shape to complete the work before classes begin — as long as it doesn't continue to rain," Larson said.

Workers pour concrete on the 12th Street mall, between the College of Business Administration and Sheldon Museum of Art on July 31. Work on the west side of the sidewalk will begin the first week of August.