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Night work earns Pioneer paving award.

Working the night shift paid award-winning dividends for Pioneer Construction. The Sudbury-based contractor earned top honours from the Ministry of Transporation (MTO MTO Make-To-Order
MTO More Than One
MTO Made to Order
MTO Microsystems Technology Office
MTO Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (government of Ontario, Canada)
MTO Monto
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) in being selected as the province's Hot Mix Paving Contractor of the Year. Ontario Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar This article or section contains information about one or more candidates in an upcoming or ongoing election.
Content may change as the election approaches.
 presented the company with the award at the Ontario Road Builders annual convention in Toronto, Feb. 7.


The award-worthy 2004 contract undertaken by Pioneer's Thunder Bay Thunder Bay, city (1991 pop. 113,946), SW Ont., Canada, on Thunder Bay inlet of Lake Superior. The city was created in 1970 by the amalgamation of the twin cities of Fort William and Port Arthur and two adjoining townships.  operations involved a rehabilitation project on a busy 15-kilometre stretch of pavement on Highway 11-17 between Nipigon and Thunder Bay.

Besides adding passing lines, Pioneer placed about 55,000 tonnes of Superpave Hot Mix Asphalt, a new type of asphalt paving mix that prevents rutting.

The $9-million MTO contract on the MacKenzie section of the highway involved pulverizing the old surface, placing new granular material A granular material is a conglomeration of discrete solid, macroscopic particles characterized by a loss of energy whenever the particles interact (the most common example would be friction when grains collide).  and applying the Super-pave asphalt.

Phil Annett, Pioneer's vice-president for northwestern Ontario Northwestern Ontario is the region within the Canadian province of Ontario which lies north and west of Lake Superior, and west of Hudson Bay and James Bay. It includes most of subarctic Ontario. , says Superpave is a relatively new mix for Northern Ontario Northern Ontario is the part of the province of Ontario which lies north of Lake Huron (including Georgian Bay), the French River and Lake Nipissing.

Northern Ontario has a land area of 802,000 km² (310,000 mi²) and constitutes 87% of the land area of Ontario, although it
, but has been in use in the rest of the province for about six or seven years.

Although it is more concentrated and compactive to apply, Annett says, it's a very high end, high-grade asphalt mix. Two layers were placed, including a binder mix with 19 millimetre-size aggregate and a surface coarse mix with 12.5 millimetre-size aggregate.

What makes for an award winning paving job is a highway section's appearance, compaction, smoothness and compliance to MTO guidelines set out for all capital highway projects. But Pioneer also scored well for the innovation of paving at night. At job's end, the MTO scored the project 90.54 out of 100 on their contractor performance index.

A big challenge in taking on the job was the "horrendous" volume of traffic that funnels through the area. Highway 11-17 is the only road that connects Ontario and the east with Western Canada
This article is about the region in Canada. For the school in Calgary, see Western Canada High School.

Western Canada, commonly referred to as the West

"It's an important section of highway," says Annett. "We're in the middle of summer, there's loads of traffic from MacKenzie (hamlet) going into (Thunder Bay) for work and shopping, there's tourists and regular commercial truck traffic."

Once they started the daytime paving operation, the complaints from motorists began to mount.

"The Ministry approached us as (to) how we can alleviate this problem," says Annett. Together Pioneer, the MTO and the consultants, Thunder Bay Testing and Engineering, devised a scheme to pave at night.

Annett says night paving is new for Northern Ontario, but is regularly used by road crews on 400-series highways.

To deal with safety and illumination issues, Pioneer brought in high mast portable lights and used two warning message boards.

Pioneer also resorted to night paving operations for main runway contracts at both the Thunder Bay and Sudbury airports in 2004 and 2005.

"Our schedules changed at the mercy of the air carriers' schedules, but we had to make sure it compacted well before we pulled off."

In order to keep flights on time, Annett says there were stiff penalties in the contract that were measured by the minute.

Night paving was so successful and without incident that Annett says they'll do the same in July when they start rehabilitation work on another section of Highway 11-17 near the hamlet of Dorion. That MTO contract is worth $10 million.

Last month, the company was awaiting word on tenders for the 2006 paving season. Annett says MTO officials stated at February's Ontario Road Builders annual convention that the province intends to run a very aggressive highway reconstruction program continuing with ongoing four-laning work on Highway 69 between Sudbury and Parry Sound Parry Sound, town (1991 pop. 6,125), S Ont., Canada, on Parry Sound, an inlet of Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. It is an active port and the center of a popular vacation area. , and Highway 11 south of North Bay.

Recognition seems to follow Annett around. In 1998, as the vice-president and general manager of Towland-Hewitson Construction, the Sault paving contractor was named the MTO's paver of the year in the northwestern region for its workmanship on a stretch of Highway 17 near Schreiber. It was their second consecutive regional award.

Soon after, their parent company, Warren Paving, sold Towland-Hewiston in 2000 to Lafarge Canada Inc. who eventually sold their construction and aggregate assets in June 2004 to Pioneer Construction.

With headquarters in west-end Sudbury, the 68-year-old company has offices in North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie Sault Sainte Marie — pronounced "Soo Saint Marie" (IPA /su seɪnt məˈɹi/) — is the name of two cities on the Saint Marys River, which forms part of the boundary between the United States and Canada. , Thunder Bay, Fort Frances Fort Frances, town (1991 pop. 8,891), SW Ont., Canada, on Rainy River, opposite International Falls, Minn. It is chiefly a lumbering center with sawmills and a pulp and paper factory. Tourism is also an important industry, with abundant fishing and hunting nearby.  and Kenora. They employ 60-full-time employees and 600 seasonal workers.

Besides provincial roadway work, Pioneer has performed road work for the City of Greater Sudbury Greater Sudbury (2006 census population 157,857) is a city in Northern Ontario, Canada. Greater Sudbury was created in 2001 by amalgamating the cities and towns of the former Regional Municipality of Sudbury, along with several previously unincorporated geographic townships. , Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay as well as Inco, Falcon-bridge, Domtar, Canadian Pacific, Canadian National, Ontario Hydro Ontario Hydro was the official name from 1974 of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario which was established in 1906 by the provincial Power Commission Act to build transmission lines to supply municipal utilities with electricity generated by private companies , and various municipal utilities.


Northern Ontario Business Northern Ontario Business is a Canadian magazine, which publishes monthly in Greater Sudbury, Ontario. The magazine covers business news and issues in Northern Ontario.  
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Article Details
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Author:Ross, Ian
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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