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WATERLOO - Cedar Valley Corp., the Waterloo-based highway construction firm, has paved new roads for itself with some national awards.

The company won two national awards from the American Concrete Paving Association: one for an innovative divided highway project in Sioux County in northwest Iowa, the other for a an overlay project on a county "farm-to-market" road in Wapello County in southeast Iowa. Both projects were conducted in 2004.

The Sioux County project was a U.S. Highway 60 bypass of Alton, part of a four-lane extension north from Sioux City and Le Mars to the Minnesota border. It utilized lightweight Geofoam - large lightweight bricks of highly compressed foam sealed with plastic geomembrane liners - as fill material and a weather-resistant covering for part of the project, saving a considerable amount of money.

"Part of the road is actually over the top of it today," Hughes said. "It was the first time in the state that had happened."

Heavier material would have required complete reconstruction of an old box culvert and disrupted Union Pacific Railroad service.

"Your diligence in placing the Geofoam for lightweight fill made its first-time use by the Iowa Department of Transportation a huge success," Iowa DOT engineer Darwin L. Bishop wrote in nominating Cedar Valley for the award.

Bishop also praised Cedar Valley for protecting the environment when it located a concrete plant site in an area designated for wetlands as part of the project.

"After much consideration it was determined that we would allow your plant site to use this location with strict guidelines," Bishop wrote. "At the completion of the project the plant site was removed without any major impact to the area. … This site alone is evidence of Cedar Valley's concern for the environment and the communities in which it works."

The company and the DOT also worked to keep the public informed of traffic changes. The pavement was so smooth the company earned the maximum cash bonus provided under the contract.

It is the first time Cedar Valley has won an award in the "divided highway rural" category, Cedar Valley vice president Willie Calderwood said. Cedar Valley's Craig Hughes was project manager.

Significant hurdles included nine bridges, extensive spring rains and the first-time use of Geofoam, Hughes said.

"This is the first award we've won on a national level for the kind of work that we do day in and day out," Calderwood said.

The Wapello County project, near Hedrick, won for concrete overlays. It presented challenges because it spanned two counties - Wapello and Keokuk - and was built under two different county engineering staffs with two different concrete aggregates and two different paving techniques.

In addition, project manager Matt Proctor said the project was slowed by nearly unprecedented rainfall in the area.

"We had 12 inches of rain in two weeks," he said. "We could have used a canoe to get from one end of the job to the other in certain places."

The company also had to work extensively to maintain access for property owners along the route, including four or five farms and one small trucking company. "Keeping access to people on a county road is difficult when there's not a crossroads," Proctor said. Cedar Valley also was working as a subcontractor to an asphalt paving company for the project.

"Despite these extremely tough conditions, Cedar Valley forces completed the project on time and attained extraordinary smoothness results," according to a company executive summary submitted in nomination for the award.

Cedar Valley continues to amass an impressive track record.

"Since 2001, we've won 26 state and national awards," said Steve Jackson, president and CEO. The company has won five American Concrete Paving Association awards since 2001.

In addition, Cedar Valley Corp. and parent United Jackson Cos. founder Robins H. Jackson, Steve Jackson's father, won the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Associated General Contractors of Iowa. He served on numerous state and national committees, co-founded the Iowa Concrete Paving Association and, in 1992, served as national president of the Associated General Contractors of America, the highest elected office in American construction. He was only the fifth Iowan to lead the group since 1918 and the first since Fred Mast of Waterloo in 1968.

Contact Pat Kinney at (319) 291-1484 or Pat.Kinney@wcfcourier.com

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