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State Highway 186 During Construction in Texas

Proactive Planning Delivers a Mobile Lab and Local Resources for Rural Super 2 Highway Project

Project Background

SH 186, Rural Willacy County, Texas

State Highway 186 (SH 186) is a 55-mile, 2-lane highway located in the Rio Grande Valley and connects US 281 (Future I-69C) to the Gulf of Mexico at Port Mansfield in a rural Willacy County. Due to an increase in traffic volume, TxDOT decided to convert SH 186 into a Super 2 highway. HVJ’s client Consor is the Construction Engineering and Inspection (CEI) Consultant for a 12-mile section from Hidalgo/Willacy County to King Street.

Practice: Construction Materials & Testing

Sector: Highway

Location: Willacy County, Texas

Services: Testing Services for Cement-treated Base, Concrete and Asphalt Pavement; Mobile Lab

SH 186, TxDOT Plan

The Problem

Since neither Consor nor HVJ has any offices or labs in or near Willacy County, one of the biggest concern Consor had for testing services was the expenses related to travel time and ability to respond to testing needs on short notices.

The Goal

  • Provide quick and affordable services in a rural area
  • Setting up a mobile lab quickly and efficiently
  • Hiring and training local staff

Our Solution

HVJ solved this problem and minimized travel expenses by hiring local staff and establishing a mobile lab near the project site.  Despite SH 186 being our only project in the Willacy County/Pharr area, we invested in local staff and a lab to make the project more efficient. This investment later led to additional work in the area.

Setting up a mobile lab licensed to store a nuclear gauge testing device is not a trivial task. Several documents have to be submitted to the Health Department to add the mobile lab to HVJ’s license. These requirements caused a delay in acquiring the license to store nuclear gauge by a month. Consequently, we had to transport the gauge from our Corpus lab. However, once the license was acquired, travel time to and from the job site was reduced to an hour or less, resulting in further substantial cost saving for the client and TxDOT.

We provided testing services for the cement-treated base, concrete and asphalt pavement for the project. We hired local, certified, and experienced testers for the project, ensuring responsive service, which enabled us to stay on schedule and assure that contractors supplied only high-quality materials. 

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