Last year, State Highway 288 began undergoing an $815 million expansion project to add toll lanes to the South Freeway in Houston.
The goal is provide traffic relief for the thousands of drivers who take the freeway from Brazoria County and southern Harris County into downtown Houston. The booming population and massive new residential developments in the area have intensified the freeway backups.
Almeda-Genoa Constructors is a joint venture of three contractors working on the project. The headquarters for the venture is a series of large construction trailers that are not connected to the electric power grid. When the project began in November 2016, local Cat® dealer Energy Rental Solutions (ERS) provided the power, connecting rental generator sets to power three contiguous trailer compounds.
“Cat dealer ERS had one of their guys come in here and run all the wiring—it was pretty much plug and play,” said Junior Medrano, an equipment foreman with Almeda-Genoa Constructors. “We just made the phone call, and they took care of everything else.”
The trailer compound is critical to the timely execution of the massive highway project, says Rene Sanchez, an assistant equipment manager on the project who works for Pulice Construction—one of the three contractors in the joint venture,.
“Each particular trailer has their own laboratories, and they have computers and printers, so power plays an integral role in making sure the entire network of this project is up and running full-time,” Sanchez says.
When Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area with high winds and relentless rain, the construction compound was prepared. While many parts of Houston were without power, the construction compound never went down.
“We never lost power,” Medrano said. “We had some fuel reserves and we kept the generators running throughout the whole ordeal of the hurricane. The Cat generators held up, they did their job. Caterpillar has a good background of providing rental power, especially with the Cat C7 engine. I’ve worked them before and it’s a great engine.”