OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (March 13, 2015) – Officials dedicated the completion of the site readiness construction project at the New Hope Center today, which is the first major milestone toward building a new Uranium Processing Facility at the U.S. Department of Energy Y-12 National Security Complex.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District administrated construction of the Bear Creek Road extension, which included the construction of a new bridge and mile of roadway, and relocation of several potable water lines. The Corps also performed acquisition and construction management.
Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander, participated in a ribbon cutting and spoke highly of the teamwork with the National Nuclear Security Administration during a brief ceremony marking the project’s completion being both on time and under budget.
“Our unique partnerships have served us well by capitalizing on the core competencies of each agency and contractor,” Hudson said. “At the same time, the multiple interfaces require clear and continuous communication, keen attention to detail and active collaboration among all the team members. The cooperation between all parties has been exceptional.”
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, representing Tennessee’s 3rd District, attended the event and lauded the very important work being done at Oak Ridge by federal agencies and the private sector to build new facilities, and to ultimately protect a great nation.
“We know the great historical mission that it (Oak Ridge) had, Fleischmann said. “Well as long as I’m in the House, it’s not going to be the ‘Secret City.’ If anyone will listen to me, I tell them about the great things we’re doing here today and what we’re going to do in the future.”
The Congressman, a member of the Energy and Water Subcommittee of U.S. House Appropriations Committee, said it is a major federal commitment to have the UPF built and running by 2025, and the many entities involved now on site preparation are contributing to the important mission of constructing the new facility at Y-12.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, DOE undersecretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA administrator, said the completion of the site preparation is a significant achievement because it keeps the process of supporting the nation’s uranium mission moving forward, while helping reduce the nation’s nuclear footprint.
“It’s also a marvelous example of how we’re continuing to improve overall as an enterprise in areas such as program and project management, and our procurement efforts, and in making investments in our critical infrastructure – the infrastructure that we need to execute our mission and to take care of our people,” Klotz said.
The general said the collaborative work between the people at Y-12, the Corps of Engineers and the contractor resulted in the site preparation work being completed on time with a cost savings of $20 million.
The contractor of the site preparation project, Avisco Inc., a local women-owned small business, began its work on the $19.5 million project in June 2013 and completed it in January 2015.
David Bishop, Nashville District’s project manager, said the contractor graded the site, built storm water structures and a bridge, paved a two-lane highway, installed signage and a traffic signal, all while maintaining the uninterrupted flow of existing traffic.
Richard Peters, federal construction manager for the UPF Project, said the site preparation work is the first sub project for the $6.5 billion project to construct the new UPF at Y-12. He said the Corps built the original facilities in the 1940s and the new facility will replace the aging infrastructure.
“We definitely need an upgrade and definitely need to bring everything up to building code and standards, and also to incorporate new technologies,” Peters said.
Peters said NNSA does not have a robust project management or construction management structure within their federal staff, so they procured the Corps of Engineers’ services through an interagency agreement.
“That way the Corps could be our construction manager,” Peters said. “We did very well on this first sub project. We not only met our budget, we came in $20 million under budget and we came in on time. But we also had a perfect safety record with the Corps with no reportable or recordable injuries.”
Tommy Long, Nashville District resident engineer, said his team had oversight with the contractor performing the work while also interfacing with the NNSA team. The result of the collaborative effort, which is a stepping stone for the next 10 years of work, was phenomenal teamwork, he said.
“As we learned each other’s processes we started to integrate more and more, and then we had lessons learned that helped us out going forward,” Long said. “I think this is a really good stepping stone for future projects.”
Long said he was also impressed with the tremendous safety record, which resulted in zero lost-time accidents during the site preparation work.
Reserve Sgt. Maj. Joe Duncan, construction assurance and quality control representative with the Nashville District, said he spent most of his time on the job site making sure the specifications and plans were followed as written and by regulations.
He said the contractor had a great safety and quality control program, and that the Corps had a great working relationship with Avisco.
“It’s a good feeling of accomplishment,” Duncan said about the finished work. “We made the schedules and the budget and we made it without any recordable injuries or accidents, which two years in a construction field is always an accomplishment.”
At the conclusion of the ribbon-cutting, John Eschenberg, UPF federal project director, quoted an old Chinese proverb saying that a trip of a thousand miles must begin with a first step.
“So I think we’ve taken that first step that’s been very successful. Our journey is long and I hope that we’ll come together soon to celebrate the next step,” Eschenberg said. “I agree that incremental celebration of these successes is very important for the team and for the community.”