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Archer United Case Study

Doug Browning
Survey Manager
The Archer-United JV | an Archer Western and United Infrastructure Group Joint Venture

Additional Sources used for case study build out:

  1. SCDOT project website
  2. Walsh Group Press Release
  3. Related news coverage

The South Carolina Department of Transportation is moving into the construction phase of the Midlands Connection Project, which will improve a nearly 17-mile segment of the Interstate 26 roadway system that stretches from Exit 85 in Little Mountain to Exit 101 in Irmo, South Carolina. The project – of critical importance to accommodate traffic increases along a commercial route to the Port of Charleston – has been on the books for 15 years.

Established in 1983, Archer Western is an open-shop contractor that primarily operates in the southern and western regions of the United States. Recognized as a national expert and proven performer in a wide range of projects in the building, civil, transportation and water sectors, the company serves a diverse client base across its seven regional offices. Recently, Archer Western was awarded the $271 million, highly anticipated project to widen 16.9 mi. of I-26 from U.S. 64 in Hendersonville to Brevard Road in Asheville.

Archer Western will widen the I-26 roadway, modify three interchanges and replace seven bridges along the I-26 travel corridor. The project will contribute to safer and more efficient travel while increasing capacity to handle existing volume and accommodate future growth, and it will also improve the pavement structure and address deteriorating road surfaces.

“We went with all Leica Geosystems technology on this project because we knew it would be critical to have everything running on the same platform,” said Doug Browning, Survey Manager at Archer Western. “This is the third largest paving project in South Carolina’s history. The biggest challenge with a project of this size is the amount of data and streamlining that data. Having a proficient way to get data from the office to the field is critical.”

A project of this complexity also requires precision, accuracy and back-end, local support. Construction Laser is an authorized Leica Geosystems dealer that provides sales, service & rental to Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. The company provided Leica equipment on the machine control and survey side to Archer Western. Construction Laser also provided critical back-end support, which was as critical as the support received from Leica Geosystems.

“After talking with Archer about their pain points on the job, we chose Leica for accuracy, reliability and ease of getting data to the field quickly,” added Stephen Bridges, VP and Construction Laser. “They are the best innovators in the field for machine control and survey equipment.”

For the Midlands Connection Project, Archer Western is using Leica for everything from bridge building to survey layout to sub grade and finish grade activities.

The project will include two sections of roadway widening – totaling approximately 16 miles.

As part of the project, Archer will also replace seven overpass bridges along the I-26 travel corridor. The new overpass bridge replacements will have improved driver mobility and safety, as well as meet current state and federal design standards

When the project is complete – in 2024 – Archer will have rebuilt over 30 miles of roadway.

With delays in permits due to COVID, Archer has focused on site prep and excavation of more than 1 million cu. yds. of earth. Widening this section will require 534,000 tons of aggregates, 470,000 sq. yds. of concrete paving, 104,000 sq. ft. of walls, 453,000 tons of asphalt, 67,000 LF of storm drain and 223,000 sq. ft. of sound wall.

“For any project, time is money. Leica has saved us time and money by streamlining the data,” added Doug. “And, using Leica iCON, we can check on any given project to see where all our dozers, grazers and surveyors are on the project. It’s a huge benefit in terms of equipment utilization.”

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