CCA Civil Inc.


Sep 16, 2013

Topnotch Komatsu equipment meets jobsite challenges

Whether its crews are working 200 feet below the ground on a subway project or high above the water on a bridge, CCA Civil Inc. isn’t afraid to take on some of the most challenging jobs in the New York City metro area. Right now, the global contractor is working on subway ventilation shafts, the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, the Staten Island Expressway and the Gerritsen Inlet bridge at Belt Parkway, among other signature projects.

CCA (China Construction America) is a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation, Ltd. (CSCEC), which is one of the largest international construction companies in the world. Founded in 1982, and publicly traded in Shanghai and Hong Kong, CCA began its U.S. operations in 1985. Today, CCA has approximately 1,600 employees and several offices, including locations in New Jersey, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and the Bahamas. CCA has built more than 20 schools in South Carolina, including high schools and facilities at the University of South Carolina. In Washington, D.C., the company has the contract for the Chinese embassy. The New Jersey office serves as the national headquarters and covers operations in New Jersey and the New York City metropolitan area. The company has constructed several Manhattan buildings and is involved in real estate development as well. Outside of the U.S., CCA is working as the general contractor and equity member on the $3.6 billion mega-building complex project of Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas.

Signature projects

In 2005, CCA Civil was formed and got its first public contract from the New York State DOT, working on the Taconic Highway ramp as the lead partner in a joint venture with Halmar International. Although the project was less than $15 million, the joint venture was later awarded a contract on the Tapan Zee bridge project, based on its previous performance. In 2007, the company won the $60 million design-build contract for the new Yankee Stadium Station, for which it received the 2008 Project of the Year award from the Design-Build Institute of America. Today, CCA Civil is working on its largest project ever, the renovation of the Alexander Hamilton bridge. The $407 million job is the largest single contract awarded by the New York State DOT. CCA Civil began that project in early 2009 and it’s scheduled for completion by the end of this year.

“The Alexander Hamilton bridge is the transportation hub of New York, carrying approximately 250,000 vehicles per day,” said Peter Wu, CCA Civil Executive Vice President. “We have to replace the bridge deck plus all the ramps without stopping traffic. That’s very challenging, so we have implemented a lot of new technology on that job. We redesigned much of the project’s temporary steel, including the shoring system of the bridge and the MPT (maintenance and protection of traffic.) We fabricated more than 9 million pounds of steel from China and have already completed portions of the job ahead of schedule, winning an incentive bonus of $2.8 million.”

At the same time, CCA Civil crews are at work 50 feet above the water on the Gerritsen Inlet project in Brooklyn. They are reconstructing the Gerritsen Bridge and widening the Belt Parkway in that area, readjusting the steep grades to make a smoother transition from the roadway to the bridge. The four-year project involves tearing out the entire bridge, so CCA Civil is completing the job in three stages. First, workers are constructing the northern end, widening it and putting west-bound traffic on that newly constructed bridge. Then crews will work on the old west-bound lanes. Once that section of the bridge is complete, temporary traffic can travel in both directions while the third phase is completed at the southern end of the 500-foot bridge.

Another mammoth project underway is a 3.5-mile reconstruction of the Staten Island Expressway, covering both sides of the highway from Victory Boulevard to Clove Road, just before the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The 10-stage job includes both widening and safety improvements. According to CCA Civil Project Manager Joseph Catapano, that job also poses overwhelming traffic difficulties. “The location is a real challenge. It’s a heavily traveled road on Staten Island, so it’s tough getting materials and people in and out of the work zones,” he noted.

That project began early last year and is scheduled for completion by March of 2015. The highway currently has three lanes in each direction, and when finished, it will have five lanes, including auxiliary lanes and HOV lanes.

“We’re raising the grade of the roadway, putting in new concrete paving, milling and doing concrete base repairs, resurfacing asphalt for a section of the project and reconstructing three bridges,” Catapano described. “We already demolished three other bridges, removed some median barriers and did some paving in order to create crossovers and realign traffic. In Stage One, we took out an old dirt-and-grass median and created two new HOV lanes, one in each direction. We also began reconstruction on all three bridges and widened the north end of the expressway as part of Stage One. The project will progress from north to south as it goes stage by stage.”

Big resources for big projects

Completing such enormous civil projects takes vast reserves of money, manpower and machines. CCA Civil is endowed with all three. Gaby Antoun, Vice President of Operations says the company’s secure financial status and bonding capacity enable it to bid and win these types of major projects. “Right now, we’re pursuing projects of more than $100 million. We have in excess of $2 billion in bonding capacity, so we’re comfortable doing that.”

In terms of manpower, CCA Civil taps into its experienced staff. Carter Cao, Vice President of CCA, says CCA Civil has about 70 people on its management team and approximately 400 to 500 employees, including union workers, on the job at current project sites. “The Staten Island Expressway alone has about 15 management staff and 100 field personnel. Our work force is 100-percent local.”

When it comes to machinery, CCA Civil owns an expansive fleet and rents additional equipment as needed. “Equipment is one of the most important factors to the success of a heavy construction contractor,” Wu pointed out. “I have had good experiences using Komatsu equipment and that’s why I put Komatsu at the top of the list. We’ve chosen Komatsu machines to build up our equipment fleet.

“Because we rely on our equipment, we need professional advice and professional service from a good, reputable dealer. Ehrbar has always given us very good help, from equipment selection to maintenance and repair. I have worked with some other dealers but Ehrbar is the one we finally chose. Ehrbar provides quick and on-time professional service on our own equipment fleet, and also supplies the rental machines we need.”

In addition to Equipment Manager Martin Walsh, CCA has a master mechanic, a maintenance foreman and operators who handle routine maintenance. For bigger repair or maintenance issues and for complimentary maintenance on its Tier 4 Interim machines, CCA Civil turns to Ehrbar.

“We have to make sure our equipment fleet is running well,” Wu insisted. “You can imagine what it would cost if the whole crew was waiting for some equipment. Our payroll is much, much higher than what we pay for equipment. That’s why we need our equipment to run well, so our crew is working continuously.”

Included in the CCA Civil equipment fleet are Komatsu PC490-10 and PC228USLC-8 excavators, WA380-7 loaders and D61PX dozers; NPK hydraulic hammers; Hamm rollers; and Leibherr 900 and 914 rubber-tire excavators, all from Ehrbar. The contractor also frequently rents equipment as needed, including a D37 dozer.

“The PC490 is a great machine,” confirmed Equipment Manager Martin Walsh. “It has excellent capacity and reach. Our operators love it and we’ve had no breakdowns. The complimentary Komatsu CARE program takes the maintenance work load off us. Ehrbar comes out and does the services at the prescribed intervals. At the same time, they check and take care of any issues the machines might have.

“KOMTRAX is probably the best feature an equipment manager could have,” Walsh continued. “In the old days, we’d have to rely on people taking meter readings and, of course, they came back wrong, and it was cumbersome. Now, instantaneously, we have the data we need plus all the other information it offers. It’s just a great tool.”

Core values

Also vital to the life of this construction firm is the safety of its people, subcontractors and others who visit its jobsites. “We put safety on the top of the list to make sure our equipment is safe and our employees are safe,” Wu emphasized. “We want anyone who steps onto our customer’s jobsite to be safe when they arrive and return home safely every day.

“We strive to be one of the biggest and best contractors in New York. We believe we provide the best product to our customers. We also want to be the best management team and be the best at treating our employees and partners, like Ehrbar, with respect,” Wu concluded.