Kobelco Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.

The proud project – Houston Ship Channel Bridge

Date of visit
March 2019

Cranes and those operating them

We sat down with Mr. David Stroup,
who serves as a general superintendent at
A.H. BECK FOUNDATION, a specialty deep foundation,
ground improvement, and earth retention contractor,
to discuss his thoughts on the project
and the reasons why the company chooses Kobelco’s cranes.

Mr. David Stroup
Joined A.H. BECK FOUNDATION Co., Inc. in 1996. Currently serves as a general superintendent.

The proud project – Houston Ship Channel Bridge

We discovered two Kobelco’s cranes along a large leisurely flowing canal. The red stickers on the yellow machines read “A.H. BECK FOUNDATION” This referred to A.H. BECK FOUNDATION, the well-established foundation contractor that is the subject of this interview. August Henry Beck, Sr., who founded the company in 1932, was one of the pioneers of the construction method of embedding drilling shafts into the ground during the construction of bridges. Primarily focusing on the southern United States, which is believed to be the most difficult region in the entire country, this group of specialists takes on foundation projects as a specialty deep foundation, ground improvement and earth retention contractor.
Mr. David Stroup currently serves as a general superintendent. Can you please describe the details of your job?

“We are currently working on the “Houston Ship Channel Bridge Project”, a major project in Houston. We have received an order to conduct the foundation work. Currently, we are in the process of drilling a huge hole. Here, I am in charge of confirming and analyzing the project, making various preparations and procuring equipment. My role is to make arrangements so that the construction work can progress with certainty based on our contract.”

According to the project's official website, this is a 1 billion dollar project, with both lanes of the bridge scheduled to be opened in 2024. How long will it take to complete the foundation work...? What type of construction work is currently being conducted?

project rendering

“The newly constructed bridge is a cable-stayed bridge, and two main towers (bridge girder that will serve as the axis) will be constructed on the north and south side, but we are currently conducting the foundation work for that. I am also in charge of the foundation work for the approach to the new bridge. Because this is a key point of transportation, we will first construct a temporary bridge without closing the bridge, then dismantle the old bridge and then build the new bridge, in that order. The crane operation began in June 2018, and we started the ground excavation in the middle of August 2018. At the shortest estimate, it will take at least one and a half years to complete the construction.”

One of the factors that enabled A.H. BECK FOUNDATION to be awarded this major project was their unsurpassed level of experience. Their track record of overcoming various challenging foundation works enabled them to establish absolute trust.
The company conducts special work on a regular basis, and is committed to providing employee training.

“Because this type of project involves significant drilling work, simply being NCCCO (National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators) certified is not enough. Our staff members conduct extremely long training. Preparing for work and eliminating erroneous operation is the most important aspect of this job. We conduct thorough training on how to use the equipment properly and the embedding of drilling shafts into the ground. At first glance, this may seem like dull and boring work, but looking at it in the long term, we believe that it is a useful training method.”

A.H. BECK FOUNDATION was not built in a day.
This persistent training leads to the joy of being involved in such a proud and massive project.