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February 8, 2006

Roadbuilding

‘Bragging rights’ picked up by Pioneer

Coveted Paver of the Year awarded to Sudbury company

Sudbury-headquartered Pioneer Construction Inc. has won the coveted Ontario Paver of the Year award for its work on a 15-kilometre stretch of highway between Nipigon and Thunder Bay.

“The big challenge on the job was traffic,” said Phil Annett, the firm’s vice-president for northwestern Ontario. “That particular stretch of highway has the combined traffic from highways 11 and 17.

“The solution that we came up with, in co-operation with the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the consultant Thunder Bay Testing, was to pave at night.” The award to the privately owned, 68-year-old company was presented yesterday during the 79th annual convention of the Ontario Road Builders’ Association.

Each year, five regional winners are selected by MTO. One is chosen as the top-ranking contractor of the year.

Annett, who is based in Pioneer’s Sault Ste. Marie office and whose firm does the majority of its work in northern Ontario, said night-time paving is unusual on two-lane roads outside of the greater Toronto area.

Pioneer started work on the contract, valued at approximately $9 million, in late fall of 2004 and completed its work at the end of September 2005. Paving was carried out last summer.

The contract, which also netted Pioneer the northwestern Ontario regional award, involved approximately 50,000 tonnes of Superpave asphalt, which Annett said is relatively new to northern Ontario.

“It’s a challenge to place on the road,” he said. “It takes a lot of compactive effort.”

The other Ontario regional award winners recognized at yesterday’s luncheon by Ontario Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar include:

R.W. Tomlinson Ltd. of Ottawa for its work on highway 35 and highway 416 in the northeastern and eastern regions respectively.

E. & E. Seegmiller Ltd. of Kitchener for its work on highway 402 in southwestern Ontario.

Graham Bros. Construction Ltd. of Brampton for its work on highway 401 in the central region.

ORBA executive director Rob Bradford said the awards recognize contractors who go “above and beyond the specifications to deliver quality roads and bridges to the owner.

“Our members wait anxiously for months to find out the annual Paver of the Year award winners,” he said. “It is considered a very significant honour and establishes bragging rights for the year to come.”

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