BARTON — In December, the AGC/VT’s 20th Annual Best Builders Award ceremony took place, and for the second time in a row Barton-based J.P. Sicard was an award winner.
AGC/VT looks for certain criteria when choosing the honoree. The winning business must show innovation, new techniques, and community service and volunteerism among other things.
J.P Sicard fit the bill by finishing before deadline, working in challenging conditions with flexibility and dedication, working with landowners and officials to leave affected properties in even better shape than what they were before the project began, and by replacing an 80 year-old bridge system with an innovative one never before used in the state of Vermont.
The project that Sicard sent for award consideration was one completed for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. It required Sicard crews to replace an aging bridge at Route 2B over the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.
Project Manager Patrick Uhsmann and Project Superintendent Timothy Crown, along with the rest of the staff, had their work cut out for them but were up to the challenge.
“There were only 50 days to close the road and complete the removal and replacement of the Route 2B Bridge over a heavily used segment of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail,” Jason Sicard said. “When we began, we knew there would be significant challenges. We had 50 days to complete the project, but thanks to everyone’s willingness to do what they had to do, we finished in just 45 days.”
One reason J.P. Sicard won the award last year was the company’s close connection to the community members their work and presence affected. The same was true this year.
Landowner and St. Johnsbury Select board member Tom Moore was beyond pleased with the process and the result.
“I had one of the main entrances to the project, and J.P. Sicard employees communicated with me every day,” Moore said. “I watched every step of what they did. Not only did they put the property in perfect order when they finished, they went above and beyond, taking suggestions from me like planting wildflower seeds in some areas. In fact, when they left they actually improved some of the areas on my property that needed better drainage.”
Perhaps the icing on the cake for J.P. Sicard was their opportunity to work with something new to the state of Vermont. The aging bridge was replaced with a new corrugated metal plate arch and reinforced Mechanically Stabilized Earth walls.
The new design requires strict specifications for backfill material and geotechnical monitoring of soil settlement of the earthen walls.
VTrans will document and test this new metal arch and wall system in hopes of adding it to the approved products list for future projects.
“To be involved in a project that has potential to create more efficient bridge designs for the state was an extraordinary opportunity,” Jason Sicard said.