Knik Construction Health and Safety Manager Dora Mae Hughes (above) was selected as a winner of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Alaska Excellence in Safety Awards in the Individual Category. "Dora was selected out of many of her industry peers for her approach to safety," says Knik President Dan Hall. "We clearly have an exceptional HSS manager and award winner on our team. What a great honor for Dora and Knik. This should lead us to a bright future with improving safety numbers."
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Summer months are the busy season for Knik Construction and, this year, crews wrapped up two projects in Bethel, AK. The Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway and the Bethel Parallel Runway Airport projects.
The Knik team worked hard repairing Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway at the request of the Alaska Department of Transportation. Roads take a beating in Alaska with freeze and thaw cycles creating potholes and crumbled asphalt erosion. Improvements to the Bethel highway included work on corners, shoulders and the installation of six inches of foamed asphalt with another four inches of asphalt on top. Knik has also installed culverts and added topsoil and hydro-seeding.
"Our work to improve roads and airports is very important to the Alaska economy and the health and safety of Alaska residents. These projects keep communities connected and maintain and protect the routes necessary to deliver essential goods," says Knik President Dan Hall. "We are entrusted with vital infrastructure projects and our employees take this responsibility seriously. We make every effort to hire as many local people as possible and finish our projects on time and within budget." Pictured above, Knik Flagger Wilson Green directed drivers to the work site in Bethel. Wilson is a local Bethel resident hired to work on the Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway project.
Knik also continued a long-term project to install a parallel runway and three taxiways at the Bethel Airport (pictured right). The project was split into three phases. Crews were most recently working on Phase III which called for expanding the primary runway safety area to a width of 500 feet along its entire 8,400-foot length.
A secondary runway embankment was constructed with a 4,600-foot by 150-foot runway safety area. Crews developed two material sites on airport property to supply the work. Over 1,000,000 cubic yards of sandy-silt material was excavated and hauled from these two sources. In prior phases, Knik installed a new standby generator module, electrical service, new runway lighting and underground fuel storage tank de-commissioning among other improvements.
As a general heavy construction company, Knik specializes in complex, logistically challenging projects in hard-to-reach places like remote bush Alaska, Guantanamo Bay, Wake Island and Midway Island. Knik crews work seasonally depending on the work which may mean moving materials via waterways in summer and constructing ice roads in the winter.
In addition to construction projects, each year Knik processes over 100,000 tons of gravel, rock, sand and other aggregate at its Platinum Pit and Quarry in Bethel. Gravel is shipped to remote sites in Western Alaska and other parts of the world by sister companies Bering Marine and Alaska Marine Lines.
Lynden Oilfield Services equipment crossed tundra-covered public lands in Alaska this winter and spring to deliver critical infrastructure across the North Slope that couldn't wait until this summer's barging season.
Methanol, cement mixer trucks, front-end loaders, sheet steel and fire trucks were included in the remote deliveries. Time was limited as the tundra is closed to travel once the snow depth deteriorates. In the photo below a fire truck destined for the Barrow Airport is towed by a PistenBully pulling a sleigh across the North Slope Borough's Community Winter Access Trail. Air freight and other alternatives were not an option for most of the cargo due to weight and dimensional challenges.
"This season was the busiest yet for snow road projects, which meant many challenges for our team. With the hard work and innovative thinking of our crew we were able to pull it all off," says John Jansen, General Manager of Lynden Oilfield Services. The team moved more than a million pounds of freight on the North Slope this season using the PistenBully snow cats. These deliveries allowed for more efficient and newer housing in the community of Atqasuk and helped the village of Utqiaġvik repair and replace fuel storage areas. Unlike conventional trucks that move freight on roads with existing right-of-way and permits, the PistenBully snow cats must travel across property owned by a variety of entities at an average speed of 9 mph.
"We have to ask permission and/or obtain permits from all of the land owners before we can begin the work," says Tyler Bones, Director of HSSE for Alaska West Express. "The Lynden Oilfield Services team did an amazing job this year moving the freight that ranged from housing modules to a fire truck. We had a professional group of employees that made the long hours and challenges look easy."
The moves involve cooperation between Lynden companies and Alaska partners like the Bureau of Land Management, North Slope Borough and Alaska Department of Natural Resources. In all, Alaska West Express and Lynden Oilfield Services worked with 10 different local, state, and federal agencies and three native corporations this season.
Lynden Transport is delivering materials for a project at Fort Wainwright military base near Fairbanks, AK this spring and summer. Drivers are hauling 58 loads of large tent frames and insulation from Salt Lake City and Calgary for the construction of seven buildings on base for customer Sprung Industries. According to Lynden Transport Regional Sales Manager Tony Vitoff, DynCorp International is handling the construction and Sprung Industries is supplying the materials. Loads are moving over the highway or water depending on construction timeline requirements and are being coordinated through Lynden Transport's Portland and Fairbanks Service Centers.
"Lynden Transport has gone the extra mile to support the Wainwright project by staging structures in their yard until we need them on site," says Gary Smith, DynCorp International (DI) Project Manager. "DI appreciates this kind of support which is critical to our collective success."
Jim Davis, Lynden Air Cargo Vice President of Commercial Operations, joined Director of Compliance and Government Contracts Samantha Davis and Customer Service Manager Dani Myren to share Lynden Air Cargo's capabilities with representatives from the mining and construction industries and members of the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, Africa last month. Samantha Davis is pictured above with some of the attendees. Around 30 people gathered at Air Ghana's offices for an informational reception. "Coordinating an event like this in Africa was a new experience for us, and we were delighted to see such a variety of regional organizations interested in learning more about Lynden Air Cargo," says Dani. Lynden Air Cargo has a maintenance base in Accra, Ghana.
During the trip, a handmade Alaska Kuspuk was presented to one of Air Ghana's staff for her assistance to Lynden Air Cargo during a previous trip. Jim is presenting the gift to her in the photo to the right.
Lynden Logistics is supporting Puerto Rico businesses as they continue to rebuild and recover from the effects of Hurricane Maria. In March, Lynden doubled its San Juan warehouse facility to 40,000 square feet. “Our warehouse expansion, long-term presence on the island and our varied capabilities have come into play for moving construction materials for rebuilds. We now have even more room for consolidating and warehousing building materials and retail merchandise,” says Lynden Logistics Regional Vice President Frank Butler.
Jacksonville, Florida serves as the major gateway to San Juan. "While we have been successful loading our Less-than-Container-Load (LCL) boxes to San Juan in both Nashville and Atlanta over the years, many opportunities have eluded us as some customers need to send and receive merchandise at the Jacksonville port," says Butler.
Lynden now has the ability to assemble, receive and load LCL freight (and Full Container Load if needed) in Jacksonville for containers heading southbound. Lynden's Nashville and Atlanta loading operations were relocated to Jacksonville to create a single source location for LCL operations. The new location is considered a gateway and is managed by Regional Operations Manager Todd Browner. "This change allows us to reduce costs and increase capacity within our containers," Todd says. "We are excited about the possibilities."
Many Lynden customers suffered hurricane damage to retail stores and facilities and were forced to close them in 2018. This year, many stores are open for business once again. “Lynden has assisted with the planning, rebuilding process, the grand openings and is now supporting the stores on a daily basis,” Butler says. The Lynden team picks up ocean containers each week dockside and delivers them to the San Juan warehouse for consolidation, scanning and sorting for stores on the island. Merchandise is held and delivered to stores on an ‘as-needed’ basis, providing a steady stream of replenishment as goods are sold. “We have also taken on new projects to rebuild the electrical grid on the island, update Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) towers and equipment and other government endeavors to repair infrastructure after the hurricane,” says Butler. “We are committed to getting our customers back on their feet.”
Lynden Air Cargo is back in Papua New Guinea. "We are operating out of the capital city of Port Moresby and the city of Lae to support Exxon," says Captain Charlie Wallace. For the past several years, Lynden Air Cargo has been involved in Exxon's Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project to construct a gas plant and pipelines on the island. Lynden's Hercules aircraft are delivering heavyweight construction materials and other equipment. Charlie is pictured with Captain Eric Feige (far left) and Flight Engineer Bill Kenney (right). "This picture shows the flight crew with a local tribeswoman in full traditional garb," he says. "It's always exciting to be working in new locations and meeting local people."
Knik Construction received both the Contractor of the Year and Distinguished Excellence Awards from the Alaska Department of Transportation Civil Rights Office. The awards recognize Knik’s commitment and dedication to the state’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program in the South Coast and Central Districts of Alaska. According to Norma Lucero of the Department of Transportation, this is the first time a prime contractor has won an award in two separate districts in the same year. Knik President Dan Hall is pictured above receiving the award from Dennis Good, Civil Rights Programs & Compliance Specialist. On Dan’s right are Alicia Siira, Associated General Contractor Executive Director, and John Mackinnon, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities Commissioner.
"We are pleased to be recognized for our efforts to work with disadvantaged business," Dan says.
Aloha Marine Lines Account Executive Joan Nacino made the cover of Building Industry Hawaii magazine’s March issue. Joan serves as Vice President of the Honolulu Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), and she was interviewed about the opportunities and challenges for women in the construction industry.
We are proud of Joan and consider her to be an important part of our Hawaii sales team with the years of experience, knowledge and dedication she brings each day.
A 7.0 magnitude earthquake rattled Anchorage at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 30. Shortly after Alaskans were back to their routine in part due to how quickly Knik Construction mobilized to fix the many roads that collapsed – especially the section of highway that carries traffic from the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage to the Anchorage airport.
Within an hour of the quake, Knik President Dan Hall placed a call to the Alaska Department of Transportation (AKDOT) offering to assist in the repair of eight breaks in essential travel that were deemed highest priority for transportation. "Within two hours of getting the go-ahead to start work on the northbound Minnesota Highway Exit at International Airport Road and a small stretch of road in the Soldotna area, Knik employees were ready to go to work," Dan explains. Just 72 hours after the earthquake and despite 4.0 aftershocks, Knik crews repaired the collapsed highway, paved it, striped it and opened it to the traveling public. "Knik’s ability to react in this timely and professional manner is a testament to the people that we employ. The credit goes to our team that jumped in to help," Dan says.
Paving in the winter isn’t ideal, but if done quickly, heat can be retained in the asphalt mix to allow for proper compaction and to give the surface treatment a chance for long-term success. "Knik crews worked alongside our subcontractor McKenna Brothers in the paving process and completed a very successful project," Dan says.
"As always, Lynden people have responded professionally and proactively and, once again, they make us all proud," says Chairman Jim Jansen. The quick response and excellent repair work drew national attention from CNN, USA Today and AP News and went ‘viral’ online. The before and after pictures became an internet sensation and sparked questions about their authenticity. The story was so unbelievable, that even the online urban legend site Snopes had to fact check it.
The story was also used as an example of Alaskans’ resilience in the face of Mother Nature and as a blueprint for other states to get highway projects done quickly by working together with multiple agencies.
Lynden offices weathered the 1964 Alaska earthquake and faced the Nov. 30 incident with the same can-do attitude. Jim Jansen shared the following from that day. "The wild ride that morning resulted in most of our employees going home to check on their families and homes. With road closures, parents getting kids from schools and people trying to get home, it was a traffic mess," he says. "By noon the airport was open and most of our people got to their homes and found the damage was cosmetic with fallen ceiling tiles, tables and pictures on the floor and broken glass. Some had water lines leaking and a few gas leaks. By afternoon, Anchorage businesses, including Lynden, began to function and the emotion and fear subsided." The Lynden facilities, including marine facilities in Anchorage, Kenai, Whittier, Cordova and Valdez, all fared well and were structurally operational.
Knik is continuing its AKDOT work into the new year to repair highway road failures in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula.
Knik Construction received letters and drawings from the kindergarten class of Campbell STEM Elementary in Anchorage for the quick repair of essential roads. Each student wrote a thank you and created construction-related artwork. The notes were presented to Knik as part of the school’s Day of Caring.