- Company: Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc
- Industry: Transportation
- Location: Madison, Illinois
- Expected Completion Date: January 31, 2016
- Project Website
Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc., was retained by America’s Central Port to manage the construction of the Madison Harbor Conveyor Project. This Design/Build project included Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc. as the Design/Build Contractor, Thouvenot, Wade & Moerchen, Inc., as the Civil/Structural Design Engineer, and Hastings Engineering as the environmental engineering consultant.
The project features a 100 ft. x 115 ft. x 40 ft. tall Pre-engineered metal building which encloses the single rail car unloading conveyor pit, two truck unloading pits, and associated conveyors. The material is transported from the dry side of the levee to the unloading tower located on the Mississippi river on over 1,000 LF of conveyors. The project was designed for future expansion, including enough space for eight (8) 60 ft. diameter grain storage bins.
Grain products expected to be transferred include corn, soybeans, and Dried Distiller Grains (DDGs) – a bi-product of the ethanol industry. The unloading capacities are 50,000 bushel per hour for the rail conveyor and 30,000 bushel per hour for the truck unloading drag.
What impact does this project have on America?
The construction of the new terminals and conveyor system will enable America’s Central Port to increase the amount of grain and other products shipped on barges. With each barge able to carry the same load as 46 rail cars or 144 trucks, these commodities can reach their destination not only economically but also ecologically. Madison Harbor is located just south of the first set of locks and dams on the Mississippi river, translating to an un-obstructed path directly to the Mouth of the Mississippi River, and making it an ideal location to ship from. The increased shipping of these commodities will enhance our economy and create new local jobs.
What interesting obstacles or unusual circumstances did you overcome to complete the project?
Project Challenges include dealing with the highs and lows of the Mississippi River. Ground water on the river side of the levee can impact construction activities. The conveyor pit is approximately 22 ft. deep from existing grades to the bottom of the foundations. After exiting the pit portion of the building, the conveyor had to cross over the existing railroad track, over the existing top of levee, under the existing high voltage line (which was like threading a needle), and then on to the 60 ft. tall unloading tower. The whole terminal system is designed to be able to load barges with river elevations of 0 ft. to 50 ft. on the gauge.
As a result of the proximity of the unloading building to the river levee, the conveyor crossing over the levee, and the unloading spout being located on the river, US Army Corps of Engineers approval was required to begin construction. While the US Army Corps of Engineers cooperated greatly in the process, added requirements were necessary to be implemented to ensure the integrity of the levee system, including monitoring of ground water levels on the land side of the levee during deep excavations, and short windows of time to complete conveyor support foundations that encroached upon the footprint of the levee.
What dangers and risks did you encounter, and describe any extraordinary methods used to keep workers safe?
As with any project with construction activities on or near water, additional safety precautions were necessary including rescue boats, and the utilization of life vest on workers during certain times of the erection process. Also the use of cranes and manlift secured to work barges located on the river, and maneuvered in place by tug boats, required coordination with specialty contractors and their crews to ensure worker safety.
We also encountered a near record flood event during record rains in December of 2015, just prior to the starting of equipment and turn over procedures with the owner. This required additional coordination with the owner, and created some minor delays to the start-up operations of the facility due to this unprecedented natural event.
How did you leverage new technologies to work faster and reduce waste?
LED light fixtures were utilized extensively throughout the project, including large lighting systems to light the harbor for work operations. This type of super-bright light output has only recently been attainable by LED fixtures, and will provide sustainable cost savings to the owner in operating the facility.
The conveyor systems were designed to take advantage of Variable Frequency Drives (VFD’s) throughout. The capability of the conveyor motors to automatically adjust speed to maximum efficiency levels for the material load being transferred will provide additional energy savings for the owner.
The project also utilizes Fine Control systems to significantly reduce, or even eliminate fine particles being released into the atmosphere, which has been commonly associated with this type of unloading system in the past.