Thalle Construction Co. Inc. – Integrated Pipeline Project

Thalle pic 2Thalle Construction's experience on large civil projects earned it a nearly $150 million pipeline and reservoir project in Texas.

By Jim Harris

Thalle Construction Co.'s extensive experience completing dam, reservoir and large-diameter utility work makes it the ideal company to complete a large water utility project in north-central Texas. The company in November 2014 was awarded a $149.6 million contract to build a roughly 13-mile-long section of water pipeline and related infrastructure in Midlothian, Texas, part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The Tarrant Regional Water District awarded the contract based on factors including the company's experience, self-performing and scheduling capabilities, as well as pricing.

"We presented a proposal during a competitive bidding process," Project Manager John Zupan says. "The district awarded the contract not necessarily based on being the lowest qualified bidder, but based on an evaluated point system." Thalle box Founded in 1947 in New York, Thalle specialized in road construction projects in the Northeast before expanding its capabilities to tunneling, site work and construction materials. The company expanded its operations into other regions of the country in the 1990s. The company was acquired in 2012 by The Tully Group, a family owned and operated company with experience in the civil sector. "Thalle is a very technically competent company with diverse aptitudes, and we've performed a great deal of development work on dams and civil projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," Zupan says. "The involvement of the Tully Group has given us a strong financial position to pursue larger projects." Meeting Demand
Thalle anticipates completing its portion of the pipeline project, known as the Integrated Pipeline Project Section 12 and 13 (IPL), in April 2017. The pipeline, a joint effort between the Tarrant Regional Water District and City of Dallas Water Utilities, is ultimately anticipated to stretch 150 miles. "The Dallas/Fort Worth area has experienced significant growth," Zupan says. "This project will increase the area's water capacity and help it meet current demand as well as projected future needs." The company thus far has placed roughly 54,000 of a total 68,000 linear feet of 108-inch diameter pipe underground. Of those 54,000 linear feet, roughly 2,500 linear feet was placed using tunneling and boring methods, as the pipeline crosses highways at five different points. Tunnels were bored at roughly 144 inches in diameter to accommodate the pipeline, he adds. Pipe was sourced from four different manufacturers, each of whom worked closely with Thalle. ‚"The pipe guys had a very large scope, in that they worked with us as well as each other to ensure they delivered in a timely manner," Zupan says. In addition to the pipes, each of which measures 50 feet in length, the company will install three 108-inch diameter gate valves, the largest of their kind to be installed in the United States, he adds. Thalle is filling the empty trench spaces around the pipe with a combination of rock embedment and flowable concrete slurry the company is producing on-site in a concrete batch plant. "The amount of soil cement required for this project, along with the large volume of flowable fill specified in certain areas made it necessary for us to not only be able to batch this material on site, but also manage and transport it ourselves," Zupan says. 'A Massive Undertaking'
The pipeline placement is one of two major portions of Thalle's work on the IPL. The company is also excavating the Midlothian Balancing Reservoir (MBR), which will hold water for later processing. The MBR represents roughly 50 percent of the overall contract cost, Thalle notes. The MBR consists of three 150-million gallon earthen reservoirs as well as six inlet/outlet structures – two at each reservoir – and more than a mile of piping. Thalle is also placing electrical, instrumentation and control infrastructure related to the MBR, Zupan says. The MBR involves 840,000 yards of excavation, and will require 180,000 yards of clay core and 560 cubic yards of embankment. "This is a pretty massive civil undertaking," he adds. Thalle is using a combination of trackhoes, rippers, reclaiming machines to perform the excavation. The material being excavated in this manner – which includes clay and limestone – is then transported to an on-site facility, where it is crushed and screened. "We're processing material into as fine a form as we can, which we can then use to build the reservoirs, instead of having to bring materials in," Zupan says. Excavating and processing the materials for the MBR posed a challenge for crews because of the enormity of the project and the logistics required to move and process materials on site. The pipeline placement is also challenging, as it winds through both populated and unpopulated areas, going through creeks, ponds and highways. Thalle is coordinating pipeline placement with a number of local communities, agencies, homeowners associations and commissions, he adds. Crews have also needed to work around weather conditions. "Last year was the wettest in Texas history," Zupan notes. "When you're dealing with underground utility work, that can be very difficult."

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