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A Contractor’s Experience with Cor-Tuf UHPC

Nothing is more reliable than real experience in the real world. Those using Cor-Tuf Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) on their projects are gaining that experience, achieving actual results, and the interest of other contractors, engineers, and government agencies.

But don’t take it from us. Read on for a first-hand perspective from the prime contractor on one of our biggest projects.

George Washington Memorial Parkway Rehabilitation 

The George Washington Memorial Parkway project near Washington, D.C., was awarded to Fort Myer Construction. This design-build project consists of reconditioning the Parkway at an estimated $162 million. The project involves repairing and improving bridges, roads, stormwater, and auxiliary features under federal oversight. Included in the scope are two bridge overlays, Turkey Run and Dead Run, using Cor-Tuf UHPC.

From a design standpoint, the project was evaluated for various materials and bridge remediation options. Cor-Tuf UHPC was selected above the other alternatives, including polyester polymer concrete overlay (PPC), latex overlays, and other UHPC options. The contractor and design firm aligned with federal regulators to select the versatile, easy-to-use, and inherently durable Cor-Tuf CT-25 to set a new standard and facilitate mutual success.

Interview with Fort Myer Construction

Fort Myer Construction is a prime contractor based in Washington, D.C. The firm has extensive experience in the region, operating multiple divisions, including Streets & Highways, Bridges & Structures, Utilities, Electrical, Design-Build, Asphalt Supply & Paving, and other services.

Ricardo Esteves is a project manager with the Fort Myer Construction Bridge Division. Ricardo’s 12-plus years of experience with the firm includes bridge and roadway projects, focusing on bridge reconstruction and rework. This includes overlays, bridge deck replacements, and small repairs. Bridge repair is a discipline particularly well-suited to take advantage of UHPC’s superior qualities as a construction material. 

Ultra-High Performance Concrete is being used more frequently by those in the construction industry. Ricardo’s team has experience with the material generally, in addition to other specialty concrete materials. As with most contractors, they prefer using traditional concrete and methods, such as ready-mix trucks and standard installation procedures.

According to Ricardo, Cor-Tuf has delivered a uniquely straightforward, easy approach to UHPC that he hasn’t experienced before.

First-Hand Advantages of Cor-Tuf UHPC

Fort Myer identified efficiencies in process, equipment, time, and space when using Cor-Tuf UHPC. It has more similarities to traditional concrete than other brands of UHPC and other specialty concrete alternatives. Below are some key takeaways from Ricardo’s experience.

They were able to pour CT-25 from standard mixing trucks, instead of requiring special batching and delivery. The process was smoother and easier than mixing in the field and wheelbarrowing to the pour as they did on a prior UHPC job:

“Being able to pour this material right out of a truck like normal concrete is highly beneficial. When we used UHPC before, we actually had to mix it on-site, and that took quite a while. It was very labor-intensive, and it also took up a lot of real estate to have all that equipment on site. So, that’s a huge advantage that we’ve had with Cor-Tuf. Just being able to back the truck up right onto the bridge deck goes a long way.”

Cor-Tuf UHPC promotes efficiency while reducing risks to schedule and quality. The ability to mobilize trucks without special timing reassured Ricardo of their ability to execute: 

“There’s really no time limit on how long these trucks can be loaded for. You could stack these trucks back-to-back and just do a continuous pour, whereas sometimes, with regular concrete, you have to space out your trucks. Otherwise, they time out. Sometimes the trucks don’t show up on time, then you get cold joints.”

Other quality benefits include the ability to control flowability. Flow properties may require modification based on the grade of the bridge deck being repaired, without compromising strength. There are two primary types of fibers in the Cor-Tuf mix, a special steel fiber and another synthetic fiber. The contractor was able to easily modify the content of the synthetic fibers to enable an appropriate flow regime, get the material poured efficiently, and avoid impacting the material’s strength properties:

“Obviously, because of the slope on the bridge deck, getting the flow correct was a huge challenge initially, but the advantageous part is that we can actually control that flow out in the field as needed. By adding more of the fibers, we can control the flow precisely.”

Curing and finishing were similar to traditional concrete, involving some simple heaters and blankets. No watering or special curing measures are required:

“During the winter, the material’s got to be cured for the initial 48 hours above 60 degrees, so we did have to have heaters on it. But other than those heaters, it’s just blankets, like with traditional concrete. It grooves just like regular concrete as well.”

The project was easier than the alternatives because of a simple, straightforward process that is similar to that used with traditional concrete:

“[Cor-Tuf UHPC] is easier to do than a latex overlay, where there are multiple steps, and the stuff cures on you fairly quickly if you’re not careful. You have got to make sure the mixture is correct on it, by weight. There are a whole slew of things with latex that you don’t have an issue with using Cor-Tuf UHPC. Latex requires special equipment. Equipment that even we don’t have. We have to sub that out, unfortunately.”

Ultimately Ricardo managed to perform the job using standard equipment and within budget expectations:

“I thought we were going to have to have special big tooling and spend quite a bit of money to get into this UHPC business, but that wasn’t the case. We were able to utilize what we already had to get this thing poured.”

The project is also establishing a standard specification for UHPC, with buy-in from the Federal Highway Administration and other regulatory bodies. Cor-Tuf UHPC exceeds compressive strength requirements, resists chloride from deicing salts, has exceptional flexural strength, and delivers a prolonged design life. Fort Myer Construction worked with Cor-Tuf and the design engineer, WSP, to establish a superior design-build solution. 

Ricardo and the Fort Myer team are approaching successful completion of the Cor-Tuf UHPC bridge overlays, performing late-stage break tests that meet (and exceed) minimum specifications.

Results Matter

You can buy into marketing hype or research papers, but we build real projects. The GSA Cor-Tuf UHPC George Washington Memorial Parkway project is one example of how Cor-Tuf improves concrete construction without compromising schedule, budget, or performance standards. 

For proven results, use your sand, your cement, and our Cor-tuf UHPC.

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