Case Studies

Iowa Bridge & Culvert LC

Applying core values to a midsize company in a large market

Iowa Bridge & Culvert LC (IBC), formerly Hanson Concrete Co. was incorporated in Iowa in 1980, by the Allan L. Hanson family, as a sister company to Hanson Construction Co., Inc. It began work as a small general contracting and ready mix company. With an unwavering sense of purpose, the company has grown into one of the Midwest’s leading bridge and culvert specialists focusing primarily on government contracts. Headquartered in Washington, Iowa, with a regional office in Texas, IBC completes projects of all sizes in Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

Iowa Bridge & Culvert LC

“We’re basically a midsized construction company that strives to maintain the smaller family value driven atmosphere,” says Curt Hanson, president of IBC and grandson of Allan L. Hanson. “We foster a set of values within our company that you seldom find in larger organizations.”

A diverse company

While the company began as a specialist in box culvert and small bridge construction, IBC would eventually expand its services and client base.  Since 1980 the Company has been active in the Texas construction market. Using its talented in-house team, IBC has increased its services to include waste water treatment plants, steam tunnel construction and rehabilitation, shoring, coffer dams, concrete barrier rail, concrete sawing, core drilling, and other various aspects of the heavy construction industry.

The diversification of IBC’s products and services has helped the company to stand out from the competition. “We’re not just your typical bridge-building company,” says Burge Hammond, vice president of IBC. “Providing a variety of services has been and will continue to be a major strength of this company.”

A recent job that featured IBC’s multiple talents was the Mehaffey Bridge project. This $8.9 million construction project consisted of replacing a 48-year-old structurally deficient bridge between North Liberty and Solon, Iowa. “It’s a very unique structure,” says Brian Uitermarkt, vice president and project manager. “The bridge it replaced had four piers and the new one has only two, creating a wider boating channel.” Although the new structure is a suspension bridge it differs from traditional design as the suspension cables are encased in concrete to decrease maintenance and increase longevity.

Iowa Bridge & Culvert LC

As with every unique project, challenges were presented and overcome by IBC. With a nontraditional design and weather to contend with, IBC was forced to use creative problem-solving techniques. “The water was very deep so the formwork and falsework was very elaborate,” says Uitermarkt. Flooding and extremely cold weather also affected progress.

Apart from traditional bridge work, IBC recently completed an underground steam tunnel for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. Long hours and lack of work space were some of the biggest challenges presented on this project. “We ran three crews for 18 hours a day,” Hammond explains. The project took place adjacent to the existing hospital, which was still in operation. This presented logistical challenges for IBC as certain regulations and time restraints had to be followed. “We had to be conscious of noise regulations and exhaust issues. There were certain times of the day that particular work could be performed and overall it was quite a challenging but rewarding job.”

Expanding the geographical footprint

In the Texas market, IBC was subcontracted recently for the redecking of a historic swing bridge in Orange County. IBC was eager to be involved with the project as the bridge was the first of two swing bridges in the state of Texas scheduled for this type of work. “It was part of a project approved by the historical society, so the bridge deck had to be replaced just as it was before, utilizing the existing beams and outdated concrete forming methods,” says Hanson. “It was a very interesting job with a lot of people paying attention to it. The project went very well and IBC’s work was finished ahead of schedule.”

Hanson is confident not only about the future of IBC, but the industry as a whole. “We think the market is only going to get stronger, provided our government can provide some degree of consistency of funding by approving a long term highway bill,” says Hanson. With strength in IBC’s respective markets, Hanson expects slow and steady expansion and growth for the company. “We think slow growth is important because you don’t want to become top heavy without the people in place required to support. We like to develop and promote people from within, but with an eye toward injecting youth and new ideas when available. That’s what we’re really focusing on for the future.”

As the market continues to strengthen, Iowa Bridge & Culvert LC will continue to be a leader and an example of applying family values to a small company in a big market.

Published on: November 25, 2015

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