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A.M. Ortega

A lot of things need to be temporarily moved, relocated and rerouted during a major expansion project like Terminal 2 at San Diego International Airport. Things like cabling, traffic lights, signs, fences and parking spaces.

That's the type of work A.M. Ortega Construction really digs. Literally.

The Lakeside-based firm was subcontracted to dig out approximately 3,700 linear feet of open trenches in and around the terminal parking lot while other improvements were under construction at the project site. The trenches were about 18 inches wide and up to 9 feet deep. Inside them, A.M. Ortega's crews installed some 35,000 linear feet of 1- to 5-inch PVC pipe as conduit for electrical raceways. Another subcontractor, Synergy Electric, installed cabling in the conduit to keep the temporarily relocated USO building connected to Terminal 2's electrical, communications and streetlight systems. Then A.M. Ortega's crews covered it all up again.

Slurry backfill.

"We had about seven workers at a time out there with backhoes and skid steer loaders (Bobcats)," said Terry Ward, senior estimator for A.M. Ortega. "We put in 27 pull boxes about 250 feet apart so Synergy could pull the wiring through the trenches manually. Before that, the A.M. Ortega crews scrubbed and cleaned the conduit, then blew the pull rope through the conduits with high-powered air compressors.

"After the cable and wires were installed, A.M. Ortega slurry-encased the conduits and slurry-backfilled the trench. Then we paved over the trench with a temporary hot-mix asphalt patch and did the temporary restriping of the parking lot. The entire job took about eight months."

Maurice Ortega, President

The tricky part of the process, Ward said, was routing the cabling through and around the parking lot as a preventive measure, bypassing the existing electrical system so the improvements could continue at the front and façade of Terminal 2. That's why A.M. Ortega had to carefully relocate existing cabling, fences and other apparatus.

"One challenge for the A.M. Ortega crew was to keep the parking lots they were cutting through open and accessible to travelers," Ward said. "The Airport Authority wanted to keep the terminal busy and reduce intrusion as much as they could. Travelers are always coming and going in a hurry and don't necessarily want to wait. We had to not only keep-up production but also maintain good customer relations while stressing safety the whole time. Safety is the No. 1 priority on a job like that. We have heavy equipment, materials coming back and forth, people walking, riding and driving, all in a construction zone. That can cause many hazards. I'm happy to say A.M. Ortega had perfect safety record on the project."

10125 Channel Road | Lakeside, CA 92040 | (619) 390-1988 | www.amortega.com

~ By Glenn Grant, The Daily Transcript

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