Bartering results in cost savings

Posted: March 6, 2015 - 1:54pm

When UPF Construction completed the half-mile haul road extension in January, approximately 132,000 cubic yards of soil had been excavated. Most of the excavated soil from Phase II of the site readiness work was reused as engineered fill material or stockpiled at Y-12 for future use. About 400 cubic yards of topsoil, however, was sent to the Bear Creek Burial Ground as part of an agreement that indirectly saved the UPF Project more than $30K.

In an arrangement with UCOR (URS|CH2M Oak Ridge), a contractor of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, Consolidated Nuclear Security agreed to exchange surplus topsoil for the use of UCOR equipment.

“By partnering, both UCOR’s and UPF’s needs were met. Each party was able to deliver a practical, effective solution to the other without additional cost to either project. Especially for construction projects, working together is key to getting work done,” John Stone, UPF Project superintendent, said.

UCOR received 23 truckloads of surplus topsoil from the UPF Project to address soil settlement at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility where the inactive nuclear waste burial ground is located. In exchange for the topsoil, the UPF Project received equipment to use during construction of the haul road extension.

Borrowing UCOR’s government-furnished equipment eliminated rental costs that the Project would have incurred, and UCOR realized a cost savings from not having to obtain topsoil elsewhere.

Because the equipment was needed only at certain stages of construction, renting it would have been costly. A hydroseeder was used only in areas needing erosion controls; a motor grader was used for periodic maintenance of a gravel access road; and ground mats were used primarily in wetland areas.

“If we had rented this equipment, it would have sat underutilized throughout the majority of the project. Sending the equipment back during periods of non-use would have generated excess costs due to mobilization and demobilization charges from the vendor,” Chris Pruett, Lead Indirects Field Engineer, said.

In addition to saving on rental costs, the logistics for handling the excavated soil was simplified. “We reduced the amount of time handling the soil by delivering it to UCOR instead of having to place it on-site,” Pruett said.

The soil exchange wasn’t the only way the Project put excavated soil to good use during site readiness work. The soil that was wetland material, which contains seeds of native plants, such as cattails, was reclaimed and used for restoration activities nearby.

The haul road extension connects the UPF Project site at Y-12 to the existing haul road, which links the East Tennessee Technology Park (old K-25 site) with EMWMF. The new roadway is part of a plan to increase safety and efficiency during UPF construction by separating construction vehicles from light vehicular traffic.

While 2014 was a transitional year for the UPF Project, this exchange with UCOR illustrates that efforts to find new cost-saving solutions continue to ensure the Project’s long-term success.

For more information on this effort check out the story on