Rock to Road

Graham Bros. takes 2009 Ontario Paver of the Year Award

April 13, 2010  By  Andy Bateman

In reviewing the responses by the 2009  Paver of the Year award
winners, one is reminded of the three things said to be the most
important about real estate; location, location and location.

Ontario’s 2009 Paver of the Year and the finalist award winners underscore the importance of good communication for a successful contract.

In reviewing the responses by the 2009  Paver of the Year award winners, one is reminded of the three things said to be the most important about real estate; location, location and location. For these award- winning contractors, the equivalent message seems to be that the three most important things about a successful paving job are communication, communication and communication. Award winners emphasize that the best results are achieved when the people involved in the various elements of a job including planning, traffic coordination, milling, asphalt production, delivery and paving, all communicate well to create a steady, seamless process. Good external communication between contractor, owner and agencies also plays a vital role in a quality job.

For its work on Highway 10/Hurontario Street, Graham Bros. Construction Limited utilized a Roadtec RX900 cold planer with a 3.66 m wide cutting drum. As a result, the production rates of the milling process and paving process were evenly matched, allowing the paving crew to maintain almost continuous operation for optimum mat smoothness.


Graham Bros. Construction Limited
Graham Bros. Construction Limited won the prestigious 2009 Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) Paver of the Year Award for quality workmanship on contract 2009-2001 in the MTO’s Central Region. Even more impressive, Graham Bros. shaved several months off the scheduled completion date and finished the contract within the 2009 construction season.  The 8.4 km long job extended from King Street northerly to 0.7 km South of Forks of the Credit Road and had a tender value of $3.6 million. This contract involved pavement rehabilitation on Highway 10/Hurontario Street in the Town of Caledon with contract construction beginning on Aug. 26, 2009, and scheduled for completion on June 30 this year. Within that time frame, an Interim Completion date of Oct. 30, 2009, was set for all binder course paving, as well as any surface course paving in the vicinity of any curb and gutter and the Victoria Truck Inspection Station. For Graham Bros., the challenge then was to complete the contract as soon as possible after a late summer start and so avoid the rollover into the 2010 season. Easier said than done, when contract conditions stipulated that road closures were to be staggered such that northbound and southbound lane closures started and ended at different times throughout the day and earlier on Fridays. No weekend work was allowed at all in the month of October. Highway 10/Hurontario Street is an important commuter route, with heavy tidal traffic flow southbound into Peel Region in the morning and northbound in the early afternoon and evening.  It is also a popular route to “cottage country” with heavy traffic on Friday evenings and weekends.

Graham Bros. Construction Limited’s site
paving train included a Roadtec SB2500 Shuttle Buggy feeding two
Caterpillar pavers. The AP1000D and AP1000B pavers were equipped with
Topcon Paver System 5 with Smoothtrac controls.


Murray Graham explains that these high traffic volumes also created logistical issues during material delivery to and from site. As experienced contractors like Graham Bros. know, the best results in mat smoothness are usually achieved by keeping the overall process and site equipment moving at a steady continual pace.  Material delivery delays could ultimately create a start and stop condition, which can result in a rough ride. Additional safety concerns arose when three of five possible lanes were open to traffic at one time, leaving a limited work zone.

In the end, a first class job was completed in just 60 contract working days on Nov. 20, 2009, a feat that Graham attributes to strong co-operation and communication between the owner, the owner’s representative and the contractor that resulted in strong teamwork and a successful project. It was understood from the outset by everyone involved that any extended delay in beginning the project, or a slow start, could equate to additional item work in early December or prevent an early finish in 2009.  Close communication between each of Graham Bros.’ crews also ensured that the project functioned within the lane, time and contract restrictions with minimal issues, successfully, safely and cleanly, providing a quality product. Key Graham Bros. Construction people involved included Murray Graham, asphalt operations manager and site supervisor Kevin Hutchinson. K.P. Persaud, of contract administrator MCPD Consultants Inc., is also credited for contributing to a successful project.

In order to increase production and reduce downtime, the asphalt milling equipment was equipped with a 3.66 m wide milling head. This apparently small change had important implications for overall job productivity as it enabled asphalt to be removed over virtually an entire lane width in a single pass. As a result, the production rates of the milling process and paving process were evenly matched, allowing the paving crew to maintain almost continuous operation for optimum mat smoothness. Still on mat smoothness, Graham adds that the use of automatic control systems on the pavers was also a significant aid in surface paving to achieve favourable smoothness results.

Hot mix asphalt for the contract was produced by the company’s Brampton combination drum/batch plant, a fixed Astec Industries, double barrel plant with a capacity of about 450 tonnes-h. From there, asphalt was hauled to the job site in both company and broker trucks including tri-axles, tri-axles with pups (Mack, International, Western-Star, Kenworth & Peterbilt) as well as Peterbilt live bottom tractors. Truck payloads ranged from 22.5 tonnes for the tri-axles to 42.0 tonnes for the tri-axles with pups and 37.5 tonnes for the tractor and live bottom units.

On site, milling was completed by a Roadtec RX900 cold planer, which achieved an average production rate of 145 tonnes-h with the 3.66 m wide CH-144 cutting drum.

The site paving train included the ubiquitous Roadtec SB2500 Shuttle Buggy, feeding Caterpillar AP1000D and AP1000B pavers equipped with Topcon Paver System 5 with Smoothtrac controls at an average rate of 175 tonnes-h.

Behind the pavers, Graham Bros.’ compaction fleet consisted of a Caterpillar CB634 Breakdown compactor, Dynapac 224W Secondary compactor and Caterpillar CB634, making two, three and three passes respectively to achieve mat densities ranging from 92.0 per cent to 95.0 per cent.

Raw material sources for the 20,726 tonnes of Superpave 19.0 mix placed on this contract included McAsphalt Industries Limited for asphalt cement, in-house pits for fine aggregates and Dufferin Aggregates for both fine and coarse aggregates. The 18,708 tonnes of Superpave 12.5 FC2 mix placed also utilized McAsphalt Industries’ asphalt cement together with fine and coarse aggregates supplied by Fowler Construction Company Limited.

Georgian Paving & Construction
Georgian Paving & Construction, a division of Walker Aggregates Inc., recorded its first MTO award for quality work in the MTO’s Central Region. Contract 2008-2012 was valued at $8.3 million and involved work over a 6.5 km section of Highway 400’s southbound lanes from Highway 11 to Simcoe County Road 11 that record 21,000 average annual daily traffic volumes.  Work was begun in August 2008 and completed in July 2009.

Graham Bros. Construction Limited won the prestigious 2009 MTO Paver of
the Year Award for quality workmanship on Highway 10/Hurontario Street
in the Town of Caledon.


Georgian Paving’s key personnel on the contract included general manager Terry Willms, project manager Doug Bell, project supervisor Chris Osborne, quality control technician Mike Scott and asphalt superintendent John Chipchase. Willms explains that, although this was a fairly straightforward paving job, paving for the Ministry of Transportation requires paving by the book as “the specifications are demanding and penalties can balloon in a hurry. As we found out on this project, the bonuses can also balloon in a hurry if you do things right.”

Willms was succinct about the reason for the company’s success – attention to detail. “There was open and honest communication between all members of the team. It starts with the aggregate coming to the plant. Our QC Technician, Mike Scott had a strict testing program as aggregate was delivered to the plant to be sure the material matched the process control test data. Couple that with staying at the laboratory past midnight to check there were no mix changes required for the next day and it is all quite simple. Our plant operator, Rob Smith, was in constant communication with both our paving crew and our quality control technician to ensure the numbers stayed in line. Our paving supervisor, Brent Paddison, worked very closely and was in touch with our compaction technician, Jordan Willms, on a regular basis. Communication between all members of the team was crucial.” For Georgian, the reward for this effort was full bonus for smoothness.

Hot mix asphalt was produced by the company’s 300 tonnes-h capacity Gencor
Ultraplant drum mix plant located at Barrie’s Bertram Industrial Parkway and delivered to the job site in live bottom trucks of 34–38 tonnes payload by broker Mailhoit Trucking. Asphalt milling was completed by Rotomill Services Ltd. utilizing a CMI PR800-7 unit with an average production rate of 240 tonnes-h.

The paving train utilized here included a Roadtec SB2500 Shuttle Buggy feeding material to Caterpillar AP1055 and AP655 pavers working in echelon at an average rate of 250 tonnes-h. Both pavers were equipped with Moba Grade control and electric screeds. The Caterpillar compaction train included a CB534D unit in the breakdown position, PS300B and PS150B pneumatic units in the secondary position and a CB 434C finishing roller. Densities achieved by the compaction train included 95 per cent for the SP25 mix, 93 per cent for the SP19 mix and 94 per cent for the SP12.5 FC2 surface course.

This contract involved the placement of over 47,000 tonnes of hot mix asphalt including 10,780 tonnes of 12.5 FC2, 13,519 tonnes of SP19 and 22,786 tonnes of SP25. Asphalt cement for these mixes included Bitumar PGAC 64-28 and 58-28, while all asphalt aggregates were sourced in-house. Fine aggregates were supplied by Walker Aggregates’ Duntroon Quarry while coarse aggregates came from the company’s Severn Quarry. The 20 per cent RAP used in base lifts was also produced internally. The Severn quarry also supplied some 59,000 tonnes of Granular A base material while CBM’s Dalston Pit supplied 73,000 tonnes of Granular B base material.

Capital Paving Inc.
Capital Paving Inc. won a Finalist Award for excellent performance on Highway 402 in the MTO’s southwest region. Capital Paving will be a familiar name to Aggregates & Roadbuilding readers, having won the MTO Paver of the Year Award in 2000, 2006, and 2008. The 2008 Award gave Capital Paving the unique distinction of being the sole three- time winner of the Paver of Year Award. The Highway 402 job, MTO contract 2009-3016, means another first for Capital Paving as this was the first contract to be completed on the province’s 400 series highway system utilizing warm mix asphalt technology. Valued at $5.7 million, the 36.1 km long contract extended from 0.6 km east of Middlesex Road 81 to 0.2  km east of White Oak Road and was completed in 40 working days after an Aug. 31, 2009, start.

Georgian Paving & Construction’s first MTO award-winning job was on a busy section of Highway 400’s southbound lanes.


Credits for a successful project go to project supervisor Wayne Robertson, asphalt foreman John Gmeindl, traffic control foreman Brian Stagg and quality control manager Mark Latyn. The scope of work included asphalt milling, paving and guard rail adjustment. Project manager Rob Munro reports that the construction zone conditions were challenging with high-volume, high-speed, traffic near work crews and narrow lanes for passing vehicles. Teamwork and close communication were essential on this job due to the haul distance involved, as John Gmeindl explains; “the haul to the job site was about 1.5 hours each way, for a total round trip time of about 3.5 hours and a maximum of three round trips per day for each truck. This long haul meant that the weather and any traffic delays could disrupt the steady supply of asphalt to the paving crew. We kept a close eye on the weather forecast and if poor weather was expected in the next few hours we had to give the hot mix plant enough lead time to stop any more trucks being dispatched. We also had to monitor the weather forecast for the next few days to match, as far as possible, the product inventory in the asphalt plant’s storage silos with our expected site usage. Weather aside, the truck haul itself was also sometimes affected by traffic accidents and congestion at the truck scale on Highway 401 at Putnam.”     

Hot mix asphalt for the job was supplied from the company’s stationary Terex CMI STD, 400 triple-drum hot mix asphalt plant, located in the main Puslinch yard and rated at 400 tonnes-h.

Capital’s site paving train included a Roadtec SB2500C Shuttle Buggy and Roadtec RP 190 paver equipped with an Eagle 10 to 20 extendable hydraulic screed. Mat compaction was completed by a Caterpillar fleet including a CB534D Steel Roller in the breakdown position making two to four passes followed by a PS360C pneumatic roller making four to six passes.  Another CB534D made a single pass behind the pneumatic machine to finish the mat. Superpave asphalt mixtures utilized on this contract included SP 19, SP 12.5 FC 2 and SP 12.5 FC 2 warm mix, with the compaction train achieving compaction densities of 92.8 to 93.7 per cent, 92.5 per cent and 92.9 per cent respectively for the three mixes.

Raw materials for 21,247 tonnes of SP 19 placed included PGAC 64-28 from Canadian Asphalt, fine and coarse aggregates from Lafarge’s Dundas quarry and RAP produced in-house. The two friction course (surface) asphalt mixtures totalled 16,522 tonnes, with both utilizing fine and coarse aggregates from the Rosewarne quarry of Fowler Construction Company Limited. PGAC 64-28 asphalt cement for the SP 12.5 FC 2 mix was supplied by Canadian Asphalt while the warm mix utilized Bitumar Sasobit modified PGAC 64-28.

Pioneer Construction Inc.’s team won a finalist award its performance on Highway 101 in the MTO’s Northern Region.


Pioneer Construction Inc.
Pioneer Construction Inc. is another name that will be familiar to Aggregates & Roadbuilding readers, having won the Paver of the Year award in 2005.

Valued at $ 9.8 million, MTO contract number 2008- 5110 was located in the MTO’s Northern Region on Highway 101, extending from 2.2 km west of Highway 651 easterly for 39.3 km. The scope of work here included ditching, in place processing, Granular A addition and paving, with the latter starting on Aug. 20, 2009, and completed by Sept. 30. General manager Kevin Williamson credits superintendent Mark McGregor and paving foreman Blair Matheson for their contribution to a successful project. Contract conditions were favourable for construction with good weather and light traffic.

Hot mix asphalt for this contract was produced by a portable Cedarapids drum mix plant rated at 250 tonnes-h and set up in a wayside pit within the contract limits. Pioneer’s site equipment fleet included a Roadtec SB2500 Shuttle Buggy feeding a Caterpillar paving and compaction train. The company’s AP1055 paver, equipped with a Moba grade control system, achieved an average production rate of 220 tonnes-h, while a 534D compactor in the breakdown position was teamed with a PS300 pneumatic machine in the secondary position to achieve mat densities of 94 per cent.

Some 42,000 tonnes of 12.5 mm Superpave asphalt was placed in a 50 mm lift, utilizing PGAC 58-34 asphalt cement supplied from McAsphalt Industries Limited’s Thunder Bay terminal. Asphalt aggregates were sourced from a wayside pit, as were 59,000 tonnes of Granular A base material from supplier Carillion Canada. Job credits also go to Gilbertson Enterprises for custom crushing and Tulloch Engineering for contract administration.

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