Originally Published in Foley “Paydirt” Magazine – Fall 2009 Issue

Carson & Roberts began work April 15, 2009 and is scheduled for completion of site preparation in the fourth quarter of 2009. When completed, the new 80-acre Riverbend District, currently under construction, will feature 2,000 residential units, two hotels and 800,000 square feet of retail space, including large format retailers, cinema, arts and entertainment tenants, a wellness center and health club, as well as a number of restaurants and cafes. The development also will incorporate 1.5 million square feet of corporate and boutique office space. Advance Realty, headquartered in Bedminster, N.J. is the owner/developer.

Site Preparation by Carson Corporation

Originally occupied by factories, remediation of the Riverbend District first involved the removal of 48,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, a task completed in November 2008. Currently, site preparation work is under way as the former brownfield begins its transformation process. Carson & Roberts Site Construction and Engineering, Inc., based in Lafayette, N.J., is site development contractor for the project.

Having already completed site demolition, clearing, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water main installation, as well as electric and telephone duct bank installation in late July, work currently being carried out by Carson & Roberts includes earthwork, paving, curbs, sidewalks, landscaping and site lighting.

“We have approximately 40 employees working on this job,” says John J. Roberts, co-owner of Carson & Roberts. “Our equipment fleet includes Caterpillar 345, 330, 325 and 3114 excavators, 303 mini excavator and 416 rubber tire backhoe, as well as Caterpillar IT-28 and IT-38 loaders and D8, D6 and D5 bulldozers”.

“We’re also fielding International water and site dump trucks, a Wacker trench compactor, and a Caterpillar AP 1055 paver and CB534 roller, in addition to a groundwater treatment system and holding tanks,” he says. Carson & Roberts’ subcontractors include Edison, N.J.’s Assuncao Brothers, Inc., which is responsible for curbs and sidewalks, and the Kemsco Construction and Equipment Company, Inc., of Newark, N.J., which is handling electric and telephone work. Rockborn Trucking and Excavation, Inc., headquartered in Wharton, N.J. is carrying out the paving run.

Overcoming Obstacles

Every development project poses challenges to contractors, and several unique problems already have had had to be overcome by Carson & Roberts. “The new utilities are being installed at significant depths, and the site’s close proximity to the Passaic River and the high water table results in a significant amount of groundwater encountered during the trenching excavations,” says Roberts. “As a result, we needed to utilize several large pumps to effectively dewater the trenches. In addition, we found that the groundwater fluctuates in accordance with the tides. Knowing when low tide is and scheduling work accordingly reduces the challenges associated with ground water and trench excavations.”

“Prior to starting this construction we also took added precautions to identify and locate all the existing buried utilities. In many instances, the existing utilities were in direct conflict with the new infrastructure to be installed,” Roberts says. “We worked together with the owner and design team to quickly resolve the conflicts and eliminate any potential damage to the existing utilities.”

The Riverbend District is enhanced by its proximity to Red Bull Arena, currently under construction as the new home of the Red Bull soccer team. A key challenge was that the project had to be done in conjunction with the completion of the arena. “To meet the project’s aggressive completion date, we prepared a detailed construction schedule that allows for the logical progression of the work and helps our project managers and foremen ensure the project is always ahead of schedule,” says Roberts.

Carson & Roberts’ portion of the overall project carries an approximate $12 million price tag, funded by the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, the Harrison Redevelopment Agency and private sources.

Vertical construction at the Riverbend Project is slated to begin in 2011. Situated in a prime riverside location, Riverbend District is only 15 minutes by rail from New York City. Also nearby are the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the sports and entertainment venue Prudential Center, both located across the river in Newark. The Riverbend District is easily accessible via N.J. Transit, Amtrak and PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson Authority) as well as major highways in the area.

Foley service and support

Eric Cliff, customer support representative with Piscataway, N.J. based Foley, Inc., has been working with Carson & Roberts for about four years. As part of his service he carries out timely repairs to their equipment, but for this project his role is somewhat different.

“The Carson Corporation’ 345 Caterpillar excavator was repaired to bring it up to speed for this job, as they need its size and production for the work,” says Cliff. “It’s not a complete rebuild but involves replacing certain components. The job will take about 150 hours of labor.”

“Before bringing the machine to our shop, its response was extremely slow because of weak hydraulics,” he says. “The repairs brought the machine back up to Caterpillar’s specifications, giving it like-new cycle times and breakout force.”

Carson Corporation provides a full range of horizontal directional drilling and boring services. Recent jobs using this technology include the installation of 2,254 linear feet of 30-inch gas main under the Red River in Texas and 700 linear feet of 24-inch water main under a creek in southern New Jersey. More recently, the company carried out a large utility contract for Skanska USA Building at the New Meadowlands Stadium, were subcontracted by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company to perform all site improvements associated with the Target, Best Buy and Whole Food Market in Union, N.J., and are in the process of completing a site project in Piscataway, N.J., for the Holder Construction Company, general contractor for the construction of a 300,000 square feet data center for DuPont Fabros. Other recently completed projects include Lowes in East Rutherford and East Brunswick, The Shoppes at Old Bridge and Paramus’ Garden State Plaza, all in New Jersey.