Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Little Tacoma History with Cambria Contracting

On July 1st, 1940 a bridge was opened to traffic in the town of Tacoma, Washington.  Five months later this bridge would tumble into the chasm between the Tacoma and Kitsap peninsulas, marking one of the more infamous moments in Tacoma history.

Since the 1890's there had been considerable interest in closing the gap between these two land masses, and while several railroad companies attempted to get the ball rolling on the project in the form of a trestle bridge proposition.  Before these plans could even so much as be reviewed Henry Ford began mass producing automobiles, changing the world in the process.  As America began to see a steep increase in the number of motor carriages on the road, it became clear that a commuter bridge would be necessary.

When embarking on the project hopes were high in Tacoma that the bridge could rival the modern marvel in San Francisco; the Golden Gate Bridge.  To do so a committee was formed and experts from all over the world were brought in to consult.  Finally after nearly a year of deliberation, the Federal Government had come forward with a costly, yet impressive bridge for the gorge.  The committee in Tacoma was more than ready to move forward, until Leon Moisseiff (Yes, THAT Leon Moisseiff) one of the leading men in the Golden Gate bridge construction came to town and announced that not only would his bridge could handle the stress, but would also cost three million dollars less.  As one would imagine this was a very appealing pitch for the committee to witness, and it came from a very reputable source.  Soon enough, despite some limited criticism from other experts, the Moisseiff bridge plan was chosen.  With construction beginning in a year, a noticeable buzz raced through the community.  Many of the citizens looked forward to having a feat of engineering as a local landmark.

Unfortunately, from the beginning something just wasn't right with the bridge.  As soon as the first suspension cables were being strung the bridge would exhibit a strange wobble, perhaps a wiggle, but in any event an item that should never shake was shaking.  While noticing this strange effect head engineers had faith in the plan that they had been given and continued to work towards completing the bridge.  This would prove a poor miscalculation.

The bridge eventually opened to traffic and was serviceable for nearly five months.  After four and a half months top engineers were brought in to study the phenomenon of the bridge still wobbling, moreso on windier days.  While this study was a good idea and performed with precision, it would eventually prove unnecessary.   Five days after the study was completed the bridge collapsed.  Taking with it the life of Tubby, a black male cocker spaniel, who was trapped in the back of the last vehicle to drive on the bridge.  Leonard Coatsworth was the driver of that car, he was able to crawl the 500 yards to safety from his vehicle, and is to be commended on his quick-thinking.

The bridge was nearly shorn in half and eventually had to be demolished in order for the bridge that stands there today.  Just another example of how it's always good to know about a great demolition firm.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cambria Contracting's Steel Resolve

Once upon a time, in a bustling community along the Niagara River sat a massive 10 acre steel fabricating facility.  But, as these factories are apt to do, time had come for the building to be demolished, and as possible environmental hazard it was important to bring in a company capable of doing the job correctly.  After bids and interviews, it was decided that Cambria Contracting was the right one for the job, and as the following paragraphs will reveal, the only choice to make.

The Roblin Steel Plant was once a fixture of the steel industry in Buffalo along with Bethlehem Steel and a few other companies.  This particular site was the gem of the Roblin factories and contained every facet of a fully-operational steel plant.  As such, there was much to be done if this site were to reach Brownfield regulatory standards.  By choosing Cambria Contracting, local government could rest easy.

This site, as with any old steel facility, touched upon nearly every specialty that Cambria Contracting has.  First the project held several pumps, sumps and quenching ponds.  The pumping units all have caulks and industrial greases which require special containment practices to ensure proper disposal.  One of the main concerns about projects like this is ensuring that these substances do not enter the surrounding habitat.  Contamination becomes next to impossible if removal is done correctly and keeps the two apart.  Quenching ponds are a bit more difficult as they are often outside and count on evaporation to ensure safe disposal.  But when time comes to remove the pond itself it has to be done carefully and ensure the pond is able to remain out of contact with the environment.  Cambria Contracting recognizes this and was able to keep this separation in place during the process.

Despite their success with these options, Cambria Contracting was still required to remediate contaminated soil throughout the complex This was done after the removal of all the buildings the complex consisted of.  The site was also filtered and dewatered to help in the remediation.

The final step was what to do with the thousands of tons of concrete that was left over from the demolition of the complex's buildings.  Any metals were salvage and all of the concrete that wasn't contaminated was crushed in order to be used as clean fill in other situations.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What Puts the Cambria in Contracting

It is not uncommon for a client to think that the use of Cambria in our title is derived from a founder's surname.  In fact the use of the name comes from the town which it was founded in New York, Cambria.  Founded in 1808, Cambria was actually the name for most of what is today Niagara County. Eventually the parcel was divided into a present day twelve municipalities.  These days Cambria is a much smaller place with a population of give or take 5,900 people.  But from the smallest acorns grow the mightiest oaks they say, and Cambria Contracting is a fine example of that if we may say so ourselves.

Ironically, Cambria is not known as a place of industrial yards and high rise warehousing but instead a rural highland with tranquil fields.  Pastures ripe with deciduous fruits and the finest wine grapes in the great lakes.  Cambria also has a strong agrarian backbone with many dairy farms and rows of corn to dot the landscape.  Playing a crucial role in the War of 1812 Cambria's history is quite impressive for its given size today.  In fact one of the reasons for Cambria's early popularity was that it held the only road to western New York from the much better developed east coast.  This road made it easy to work supplies up to Fort Niagara.  In fact a road titled Old Niagara Rd. still barrels through the town of Cambria.

Surveyed originally by Joseph Ellicott a number of historic first happened along the shores of Lake Ontario.  Little did he know that the lands he walked upon would one day be a renowned wine country visited by tourists from far and wide.  

Most of all, Cambria was a wonderful place for us to begin our company.  Although now located in Lockport, Cambria Contracting remains grateful to its friends in Cambria for their assistance and concern.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cambria Contracting: Mall Rats

Typically, when people hear the name Cambria Contracting they don't picture a phalanx of  well manicured haberdashers.  Simply because of the nature of our work, and perhaps our headquarters locations, Cambria Contracting is thought of as the nadir fashion.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and we can prove it too.  Just read our following story about a time we went to the mall.

Located in Pittsburgh, PA the Eastland Mall was built in 1961 and served as one of Pittsburgh's premiere retail outlets for decades.  In fact it held that title up until 2007, when Cambria Contracting was called in to to demolish the 940,000 sq. ft. facility.  Overlooking the Monongahela River the Eastland Mall was one of Cambria Contracting's more scenic worksites.  

One of the unique challenges of this particular job was the large amount of asbestos that had been used in both the original building, and the re-building of the mall after a fire in 1971.  Asbestos was throughout almost all of the materials used in the construction of the mall, including but not limited to floor tiles, ceiling tiles, plaster, and mastic.  Although the mall had once been an open air shopping plaza, after the fire it had gained a roof in the rebuild and this somewhat aided Cambria Contracting in making sure that the appropriate areas were sealed off.  This process has to be precise to ensure the job site maintains EPA standards.  

Alongside the towering amount of asbestos were plenty of other challenges.  There were bulbs, ballasts, and mercury switches throughout the facility which had once helped accommodate the crowds of people who once populated the walkways of the mall.  When identified and then disposed of properly these industrial lighting and plumbing components do not pose as much of a risk as the asbestos.  In fact, if removed cautiously these items are ripe for resale and have a high value to clients looking for asset salvaging.  

The mall had also had been a place where crowds could gather to feast on food court delights.  Throughout the mall's 42 year life span many different greasy spoons took up kiosks throughout the food court.  All of which were supported by a plumbing and coolant system and cleaning agents.  All of this hazardous waste had to be removed in order to comply with present criteria.  Cambria Contracting successfully mitigated the environmental threats that these chemicals presented as well.  

After all the hard work had been done, so Cambria Contracting decided to treat themselves to a movie in the mall's theatre.  After taking in "Eastern Promises" (very good, Cambria Contracting recommends!)  Cambria Contracting walked out of the theatre and promptly tore down and gutted the entire 680,000 sq. ft. facility.  Aside from some delicate removals for asset salvage purposes this part of the project did not present nearly as much of a challenge as the other components involved.

All in all, it was simply another job by Cambria Contracting done right.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cambria Contracting & Debris Removal

While it is easy for observers to focus on the more offensive machines involved in a demolition, there is another facet of the project that is easily as important.  Given the rate at which material can be created, removing it and keeping the work site safe is a major challenge for Cambria Contracting.  Without a steady stream of dump trucks consistently removing debris efficiently, many jobs would bog down.

The modernized dump trucks Cambria Contracting has are built for maximum efficiency.  These vehicles come with two rails and a steel cable winch strong enough to pull 90,000 lbs. at least.  This design allows the dump trucks to quickly place waste containers down, before moving to a full can, loading that, and removing the excess material from the demolition site.  In situations where hazardous waste is involved Cambria Contracting can still rely on it's small fleet of roll off dumpsters, as several companies have begun to offer hard-top dumpsters that allow for the transportation of asbestos waste and other airborne hazards.  In fact, making sure a site has enough dumpsters to keep pace with the demolition is key as it allows maximum efficiency for the crew.  Cambria Contracting has turned to local subcontractors for large jobs.

Another crucial part of the removal process are the technological marvels that are responsible for loading the roll-off containers.  These can very from bulldozers, to backhoes, and excavators.  By using and array of machines and their possible add-ons it makes it easier for Cambria Contracting to begin sorting the waste and discerning if there is any value to be had.  Many of these trucks are capable of handling nearly 60,000 lbs.  Often times the road will give out before the dump truck,

The amount of material being removed from a job site can be deceiving.  Many jobs number into the hundreds of millions of tons before a job site is declared cleared.  By being so thorough Cambria Contracting is always sure to be able to handle the tonnage rates and then some.  We consider all phases of the game here, your welcome to have your question answered.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cambria Contracting's Concrete Pulverizers

One of the more unique aspects of working at Cambria Contracting Inc., is the amount of extraordinary equipment we put to use every day.  Some of the world's largest machines are in our employ, some which are used to chew through entire buildings.  Due to our frequent interactions with these juggernauts, we can sometimes forget that they are a real eye opener for those not employed in the world of industrial demolition.  One of the most popular piece of machinery on our lot is the concrete pulverizer.  The name says it all, these crushing jaws are not only powerful enough to turn stone to dust, but can be operated with astounding precision and dexterity.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we thought we would save everyone a lot of reading and show off our five favorite concrete pulverizers.

5.  http://cache.io9.com/assets/resources/2008/01/image002.jpg - A creative use of some not so up to date crushers.

4.  http://www.constructionequipmentguide.com/scripts/asp_resize_edit.asp?id=3738&width=400 - Strong, sturdy & effective.

3.  http://img.directindustry.com/images_di/photo-g/concrete-pulverizer-for-excavator-56762-2547233.jpg - Action shot! The blue really will help the dust stand out to absolutely wow your friends.

2.  http://mining.crushersmill.com/knowledge/images/concrete-pulverizer.jpg - It's what we imagine the head of a dragon looks like.

1.  http://rpn.baumpub.com/_files/products/11750_nye_xcp3_nd11_jan12.jpg - It only plays fetch with meteorites.  This can chew through a room in minutes given the size of the chamber.

Do you have any favorites?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cambria Contracting & The Komatsu PC1250

Once in a fine while an amazing piece of engineering comes along and becomes a staple of the industrial demolition scene.  For Cambria Contracting this mechanical marvel is the Komatsu PC1250.  This one hundred and nine ton behemoth is easily one of the most capable pieces of machinery in the Cambria Contracting armory.  Brought to almost every job site the PC1250 increases overall operational efficiency tenfold.

A real specialty of the PC1250 is its ability to dig into almost any type of earth and remove giant amounts of it.  Capable of reaching nearly fifty feet into the ground in front of it with an eleven foot wide bucket; it's hardly a surprise that this is one of the more rather popular backhoes in the world.  Digging with a maximum force of 112,900 pounds of force, the Komatsu PC1250 can empower one operator to finish a task in the time it historically would have taken dozens.

Requiring a clearance of twenty three feet or better, the machine can make transportation a delicate matter.  The weight involved makes the process of travel tricky.  Many roads are not capable of supporting the weight of the PC1250 so logistically routes must be planned and analyzed to take it to job sites.  Fortunately the boom and stick can be positioned in such a fashion that it can get under most bridges.  However, it is Cambria Contracting's responsibility to ensure that the routes are clear of any and all hazards.

While the mechanical specifications of the Komatsu can give the appearance of a clunky behemoth, nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the boom, stick and bucket work together to create a nimble and agile hydraulic system.  Cambria Contracting's operators, given their years of experience, are capable of not only loading a truck to the appropriate line, but they are sleek enough to level a load of material prior to it leaving the site.

Cambria Contracting uses the Komatsu for many aspects of job sites.  The most frequent is the collection and removal of debris created from the various stages of a demolition job.  The Komatsu is also useful for certain parts of a demolition project itself.  With such force available, an operator will be asked to knock various hard to reach or compromised areas out from a safe distance.  Sparing Cambria Contracting unnecessary risk in their demolitions.

The addition of the PC1250 to the Cambria Contracting array of machinery was a great boost.  It has increased operation effectiveness rates and been crucial in making sure projects have met deadline.  The Komatsu has more than proven itself as an engineering wonder and rightfully so.  For any questions which you might have about the machine described in the paragraphs above, feel free to leave a comment!