“Just in the intersection of Market and Fulton Streets, we began digging and immediately started finding thing and we found a lot of them,” says project manager, Jeff Talsma.

In recent years, infrastructure upgrades in urban cities have been ongoing across the country. This is true for Grand Rapids, Michigan; the second largest city in the state. Directly in the historic section of the downtown area, veteran contractor Kamminga & Roodvoets, Inc. (K&R) has been undertaking the multi-year project of upgrading a primary trunk sewer that runs along the Grand River. They are redirecting a new 96-inch tie-in line 1,200 linear feet around the block along Market and Fulton Streets to make room for any utility requirements of future development.

In such a dense area of the city, K&R knew they were going to have to contend with many existing utilizes as they excavated the new pipeline. “You never know what you are going to find when you take the pavement off the road,” says project manager, Jeff Talsma. “Just in the intersection (of Market and Fulton Streets), we began digging and immediately started finding thing and we found a lot of them.”


The biggest challenge for Talsma and his crew was installing a shoring system that could contend with the plethora of existing utilities. Fortunately, it wasn’t a difficult decision for K&R. It so happened that several members of the installation crew, including Talsma, were veterans of installing member Efficiency Production’s Slide Rail Shoring System. 

“We’ve had a lot of success with Efficiency’s Slide Rail on other projects in the past—large projects—and we are right in the heart of Grand Rapids with a lot of old buildings,” Talsma says. “Vibrating in tight sheeting just wasn’t an option. There was just too much potential for failure.

“We’ve worked with Tim (Hurst) and the Efficiency team, probably since January 2021,” Talsma continues. “We started with an original design for using Slide Rail, but when we came across more items of conflict; we changed that and came up with a workable solution, including Slide Rail Sheeting Frames with sheets, utility supports, and in some instances utility relocations.”


Efficiency’s modular Slide Rail is a component shoring system comprised of specialized steel posts and panels. The versatile system can go 32 feet deep in a variety of configurations, such as small four-sided pits; large unobstructed excavations as big as 60 x 60 feet or more in a ClearSpan™ configuration; or in a Multi-Bay™ configuration to install tanks and other structures or lengths of pipe more than 40 feet.

Slide Rail is installed simultaneously as the trench or pit is excavated by sliding the panels into integrated rails on the posts—an outside slotted rail first, then an open-face rail on the inside—then pushing the panels and posts incrementally down to grade as the pit is dug; a process commonly referred to as a “dig and push” system.

Another cost saving aspect of Slide Rail is that the equipment can be utilized multiple times in several different excavation points, starting with the initial tie-in to the existing sewer line. K&R installed a 28 foot x 35 foot wide, and 24 feet deep Multi-Bay™ configuration of the Slide Rail System with Shore-Trak™ Panel Sheeting Guides to shore tightly around the existing 11.5 foot x 14 foot sanitary sewer culvert. K&R then caste-in-place a 11 foot x 14 foot manhole structure up against the existing sewer line. The crew then sawed into the existing culvert and redirecting the line through the new manhole.

Once the manhole and diversion line were installed, the K&R crew backfilled the excavation and moved much of the same Slide Rail components to another spot right along Market Street, then installed a 24 foot x 26 foot wide, and 28 foot deep 4-sided Slide Rail System to shore another section of the 96-inch diameter reinforced concrete pipe on the new half-mile long sewer pipeline.

After that, K&R used all the same Slide Rail equipment to shore four additional excavation points along the new tie-in line. 

“There’s a hundred different things running through the intersection,” Talsma adds. “With Efficiency’s Slide Rail it provides a little more flexibility in installation, which helps with potential impact to the surrounding buildings and utilities; all of which really made it the right solution.” 


In 1951, Roger Roodvoets and Elwin Kamminga started a local bulldozing company, working out of Roger’s father’s garage. From that beginning, the two friends established the foundation for what has become an industry leader in roadbuilding and underground utility construction. With offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Tampa, Florida, K&R has grown into a successful and highly regarded contractor with more than 200 employees, building projects ranging in size from city street intersections to highway interchanges. 

About the Author:

James McRay is director of marketing and media with Efficiency Production, an Arcosa Shoring Products company and founding member manufacturer. For more, visit www.efficiencyproduction.com

Modern Contractor Solutions, February 2023
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