Schwing Pumps Finishing Off Las Vegas Flood Control Project

Two concrete boom pumps and crews from Las Vegas Pumping Service, Las Vegas, NV, have been busy with the Tropicana Flamingo Washes Flood Control Project since February of 2004. Most recently, the contractor utilized their KVM 39 X and 36-meter concrete pumps to complete the placement of 32,700 yards of concrete into the 2.5-mile long Upper Blue Diamond Diversion Channel. For this particular phase of the Tropicana Flamingo project, Las Vegas Pumping Service operated under general contractor Meadow Valley Contractors – a subsidiary Meadow Valley Construction, Phoenix, AZ – and Wisner Construction, Las Vegas NV.

The Tropicana Flamingo Washes Flood Control Project was authorized by the Water Resources Development Act of 1992. To minimize severe flooding issues in the southwest portion of the Las Vegas Valley, several local suppliers and contractors began coordinating construction on the flood control features in 1995: 27.7 miles of primary channel, three detention basins, modifications to two existing detention basins, three debris basins and a network of lateral collector channels. Regardless of where floodwaters are initially collected, all channels and washes navigate through Clark County, Nevada to Lake Mead. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Clark County Regional Flood Control District and Clark County partnered to fund, design and engineer all of the project’s features. Officials are estimating completion for 2005.

Las Vegas Pumping Service Operations Manager John Hann said the flood control project was a little out of the ordinary for his company. “We typically stick to residential and tilt-up projects,” said Hann. “The industry’s been absolutely booming out here with an influx of retirees. Developers are trying to keep up, and so are we.”

With a fleet of ten Schwing concrete boom pumps ranging from 32 to 52 meters, the contractor still has the ability to assign pumps and operators to residential projects as construction progresses on the channels.

After completing work on the Upper and Lower Flamingo Diversion channels, each requiring an estimated 50,000 yards of concrete, Las Vegas Concrete Pumping moved onto the Blue Diamond project. The channel measures an estimated two and a half miles and will run directly into the Blue Diamond Wash.

“This particular part of the project is necessary because the roads and ramps in this area are occasionally overwhelmed with floodwaters,” said Buddy Halstead, Meadow Valley Contractors Concrete Superintendent. “The water has no where to go. This channel will make the area travelable year-round despite heavy rainfalls.”

At times working simultaneously, the Las Vegas Pumping Service’s 39- and 36-meter pumps placed an average of 300 to 500 yards every day into the channel. Operatioins Manager John Hann compared the construction of each individual channel section to that of a box.

“It was al lot like building large concrete boxes side by side,” says Hann. “Each individual form required a three-foot thick pour into the invert, or bottom form, and two three-foot thick walls.”

Las Vegas Pumping Service crews scheduled invert pours for the mornings and wall pours in the afternoon, placing an estimated 300 to 400 yards over the course of a day. “We completed whatever they had formed up for us. Typically, we had both the 36- and 39-meter pumps and crews on the site for eight to nine-hour work days.”

Certain areas of the Blue Diamond Diversion Channel also require an 8-inch thick “top” where future plans exist for the construction of a building or road. Hann’s crews placed an 8-inch thick monolithic slab on top of the walls on these particular sections. “We were placing up to 500 yards a day about three days out of the week to complete the tops alone,” said Hann

Despite the current Las Vegas cement shortage, Hann said getting the required 1-1/2-inch aggregate mix from Las-Vegas based ready mix supplier Service Rock Corporation was never an issue. The harsh mix wasn’t a problem for the boom pumps’ Rock Valves either.

“The Rock Valves have evolved to the point that they can handle just about anything,” Hann said, “Even the notoriously tough mixes of the southwest. On this project, we were dealing with a 1-1/2-aggregate mix on the whole job. That’s a high demand for a pump, but the 39-meter with the Big Rock was able to rip through the mix without a problem.”

On the contractor’s KVM 39 X, the 10-inch diameter, 98-inch stroking cylinders allow for maximum output of 213 cubic yards per hour at 22 strokes per minute. The combination of the long stroking cylinders and the Rock Valve result in half the wear cost of competitor’s pumps.

The contractor’s 39-meter concrete pump features X-Style Outriggers for quick set-up, a compact footprint and maximum stability on the job site. The pump is equipped with a 2525 H-6 pump kit, Schwing’s highest performance kit. Hann recognizes he places high expectations on the pumps’ hydraulically powered features by pumping tough mixes in demanding climate, but says his crews are fully aware of the importance of preventative maintenance. “We invest in a higher quality hydraulic oil to promote viscosity and we had the manufacturer install double oil coolers for the best performance on exceptionally hot days.”

Concrete pumping on the Blue Diamond Diversion Channel wrapped up at the end of 2005. The next phase of the Tropicana Flamingo Washes Flood Control project, the F-4 Diversion Channel, is scheduled to let in Winter 2005.