American Excelsior

Western Specialty Contractors – Dallas, Texas Branch recently used a lot of ingenuity and a little paint matching skills to repair a Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) wall at the American Excelsior facility in Arlington, TX. American Excelsior manufactures and distributes products for packaging, cushioning, engineered foam specialties, erosion control and a wide variety of engineered wood fibers.


It was discovered that a beam at American Excelsior's manufacturing facility was putting too much pressure into a CMU wall which had busted out the top course of CMU block. Originally thinking that the exterior wall was made entirely of CMU block, Western crews soon learned that the CMU wall transitioned into a brick masonry wall at the interior. Western crews had to think of a new solution that would allow them to complete the project within budget, provided strength and blended with the existing appearance.


The new solution was to tear down the damaged CMU wall and install a fully reinforced pilaster. Western crews tied the new pilaster to the new CMU wall by installing helical masonry anchors embedded in epoxy. The final touch was color-matching the CMU wall with the existing wall color, making the repairs virtually unnoticeable.



Eads Bridge

Western Specialty Contractors Restores Brick Archways Underneath Historic Eads Bridge Crossing Mississippi River

The iconic Eads Bridge crossing the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois was the first steel structure bridge of its kind in the United States when it was designed by James B. Eads and opened on July 4, 1874. A significant engineering feat for its time, the historic bridge was in desperate need of rehabilitation from decades of use, repairs and environmental exposure.

In May 2012, the Bi-State Development Agency/Metro (BSDA/Metro) launched a monumental Eads Bridge Rehabilitation project, largely funded through $34 million in federal support, which includes $25 million from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. All phases of the project are scheduled to be completed in 2016 and expected to extend the life of the bridge by 50 years. The top deck of the bridge which supports vehicle and pedestrian travel is owned by the City of St. Louis. BSDA/Metro owns the superstructure and the lower deck which is the rail deck that supports the region’s MetroLink light rail system.

The multi-faceted restoration project includes: replacement of support steel dating from the 1880's, refinishing and repainting the bridge's superstructure using a rust-inhibiting coating, upgrading the MetroLink light rail system and restoring the brick archways under the bridge that support its foundation.

St. Louis Bridge Company, a large bridge company working throughout the Midwest, hired Western Specialty Contractors, formerly named Western Waterproofing Company, as a subcontractor on the project due to Western's past expertise in bridge work.

Western's scope of work focused on restoring the bridge's brick archway supports on the Missouri side, which are located about 100 yards from the waterfront and allow roadway traffic under the bridge.

Western's work included demo of all concrete patching on the brick archways; removal and replacement of all damaged bricks; and tuckpointing of all deteriorated mortar joints.

We were contracted to remove and replace 1,256 square feet of bricks and tuckpoint 1,256 square feet of mortar joints. We ended up removing 1,824 square feet of bricks and tuck pointing 469 square feet of bricks,” said Western Department Manager, Rick Kerperien.

One of the challenges that Western's crews faced on the project included installing bricks in the overhead arches, which reach 30 feet high at their centers. Western found an innovative solution to the vertical challenge.

We overcame that obstacle by cutting wood strips and anchoring them to the arch ceilings which would hold the new bricks securely in place while being installed. Once the bricks cured, we would remove the wood strips and fill in the holes where necessary,” Kerperien said.

Western crews also had to bring in water for mixing the mortar and cleaning, and used generators for electricity on the project. Western's phase of the project was completed in four months.


Olivenhain-Hodges ESP Pump Storage Facility

In 2009, Western Specialty Contractors was called to the Lake Hodges Pump Station by Archer Western Contractors. The structure is an 11 story underground concrete building with three-foot thick walls. It took more than four years to construct the underground water facility. It had experienced thousands of leaks. Western worked with Sika to provide a design build solution. The scope of work involved treating the leaking cracks with Sika HH Hydrophobic Urethane Grout. Western provided an experienced concrete restoration crew to handle the project.

The first step involved the installation of protection over several high voltage electrical boxes, transformers, and other electrical equipment located in the facility. The crews were required to create a dust free environment while working. This was accomplished by utilizing dustless attachments for drilling and grinding applications.

The work steps involved drilling and installing injection parts. Sika grout was then injected. After curing, the ports were removed and port holes were filled with non shrink grout. Western crews injected cracks in more than four floor levels. This included the eleven story entrance stairwell, equipment rooms, a large turbine room and elevation shaft. More than 15,000 ports were installed and injected with grout.

The Western team stopped the leaks and created a dry environment for the San Diego Water Authority.


Foose’s Flume – Salida Hydro Power Plant

Western Specialty Contractors' Denver branch was contacted to repair the Fooses Flume at the Salida Hydro Plant. The project called for concrete repairs to the flume floor running from the reservoir to the hydro power plant.

First the deteriorated concrete was removed at depth to expose the reinforcement bars. New reinforcement bars were installed. New concrete was then placed and sealed.

Soon after initial demolition of the flume floor, a snow storm halted the project. The proceeding snow run off caused the reservoir to raise, flood, and to freeze over the excavated concrete hole. The snow storm cost valuable time on an aggressive project schedule. Despite the set back, Western was able to meet the project deadline.

Waste Water Treatment Plant

Western Specialty Contractors was recently called upon to install “hot applied” waterproofing as a seal around two digester tanks at the West Lafayette Waste Water Treatment Plant. The tanks were approximately 180’ in length.

The scope of work included the following work items:

  • Installation of hot applied waterproofing around the perimeter of the two digesters, approximately 4” wide, 3’ deep, and 180’ long.
  • Installation of bond breaking tape and perimeter sealant and then the installation of cove sealant around each perimeter.

Western completed this project with the help of their corporate safety department, on time, and within budget.


Table Rock Reservoir

The Table Rock Reservoir is located in a remote part of South Carolina. Exposed to the elements, the control and expansion joints in the spillway had to be replaced. Those joints ran transversely across the spillway as well as two longitudinal joints that ran up each side.

Most of the 2,200 lineal feet of joint that had to be replaced also required new nosing material at the joint shoulder. Western utilized Sika 42 Grout Pak P.T., a three component epoxy mortar to rebuild the nosings of the joints. Sika’s CombiFlex System was used for both the control and expansion joints.