As the nation’s infrastructure has progressed over the last 75 years, so have the capabilities of construction contractor J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc.
The company originated in Fort Lee, N.J., in 1924 by doing miscellaneous trucking jobs. It later added dump trucks to help with the construction of the George Washington Bridge, hauling rock and fill from the structure’s abutments and roadway systems. With the boom in residential and commercial construction spurred by the bridge, J. Fletcher Creamer & Son entered the mason material business. Still later, the company expanded to rock excavation and installed pipelines for utilities. It eventually became recognized as the underground expert — the possessor of an awe-inspiring variety of skills for the 21st century, including fiber-optic cable installation, specialized environmental remediation, pipe cleaning and lining services. “Being diversified, we’re able to switch gears to work on something else, while always working in heavy and highway construction,” says Frank Esposito, manager of business development.
Now headquartered in Hackensack, N.J., J. Fletcher Creamer & Son applies its underground expertise to projects for utilities and industrial firms across the nation. The company’s current projects include power plant, foundation and infrastructure construction for Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) in New Jersey, and the installation of several miles of methane gas pipeline connecting a landfill to a factory near Richmond, Va.
It’s easy to picture a tuberculated or leaking water main. But can you imagine fixing it without the replacement or costly excavation that tears up the road or interrupts water service? One of the most innovative and economical offerings of J. Fletcher Creamer & Son is in-place pipeline rehabilitation, which saves replacement costs while improving the carrying capacity of pipes ranging from 4 inches to more than 13 feet in diameter. In this process, cleaning and mortar lining permanently restore flow, eliminating water complaints, seal pinholes and joint leaks — all without removing the pipe from the ground.
How do they do it? First, J. Fletcher Creamer & Son’s technicians install a temporary bypass pipe along the curb lines to continue water service. Next, the pipeline is reamed and cleaned. Then a high-pressure mortar hose and power source is snaked through the main pipe from an aboveground access point to a mortar and pump mixer. Premixed cement mortar lining is centrifugally applied to the pipe wall interior using custom-designed mortar application equipment. A flexible troweling device follows behind to produce a smooth, hydraulically efficient surface.
This process is used on distribution mains, new steel transmission lines, corrugated metal pipe culverts, irrigation lines, hydroelectrical penstocks and cooling lines in generating stations. The company’s clients for the process stretch from Elizabeth Water Company in New Jersey to Los Angeles Power and Water. “It’s a specialty job that only a few contractors in the United States do, and we are the best at it,” says Esposito.
J. Fletcher Creamer & Son also offers cost-effective internal pipe-joint rehabilitation. The company uses In-Weg® Internal Seals; these seals permanently eliminate leaks at internal pressures up to 300 pounds per square inch on all types of pipe — including cast iron, ductile iron, concrete and reinforced concrete, steel, vitrified clay and plastic piping systems — and in diameters of 16 inches or larger. Also, it makes excavations for access as far as 5,000 feet apart, resulting in minimal disruption of traffic.
In the Trenches
J. Fletcher Creamer & Son combines decades of construction know-how with high-tech advances and equipment. For example, the company’s pipeline work and other projects use trenchless directional drilling to minimize interference with the surrounding infrastructure while accomplishing complex construction work beneath. On the equipment side, state-of-the-art spider plows allow company personnel to go places and do things that dozer plows can’t, such as negotiating sloping terrain, wetlands and tight locations.
By applying these and other construction skills and knowledge, the company is able to take on some of the nation’s most complicated infrastructure projects. J. Fletcher Creamer & Son installed the 6,000-foot, 12-inch high-pressure gas main crossing Newark Bay in New Jersey for PSE&G. One of the longest crossings of its kind at the time, this project required drilling through glacial till and sandstone under the shipping channel, down to 128 feet below sea level. In another extensive job, this one for Metromedia Fiber Network Technologies, J. Fletcher Creamer & Son installed more than 100 miles of fiber-optic cable running from the cobblestone streets of Jersey City all the way down to Wilmington, Del.
In many parts of the country, the company’s Last Mile Solution makes the seamless connection between the nation’s fiber-optic superhighway and the cities that this network serves. This link to where people live and work can be more complex than the long-haul jobs performed out on the highways and along railroad right of ways. “We engineer, design and build it within the cities, dealing with congested traffic and city regulations,” Esposito says.
Creamer Environmental, Inc., an affiliate company, adds its reputation for excellence in hazardous-materials management by integrating its experience in engineering, environmental science, materials handling and civil/heavy construction. This allows the company to develop and carry out the most effective remediation strategies available, including soil and ground-water remediation, marine and industrial tank-cleaning services, facility maintenance and decontamination, and many other services.
In heavy construction, J. Fletcher Creamer & Son’s proficiencies include pile driving, bridge construction, steel and concrete bulkheads, heavy concrete foundations, excavation and underpinnings. The company’s expertise also includes highway guardrail construction and overhead sign structures.
At the same time, the company has a new niche. Customers are asking it to perform more project management for greater economy and quality control. This has come about because of J. Fletcher Creamer & Son’s fine-tuned organizational structure from the top vice presidents, project managers, superintendents, engineers and foremen to the crews and laborers. The company’s 1,600 employees average about 35 years in age, a perfect blend of experience with energy and enthusiasm.
The company logo includes the Portuguese phrase Organizacao e Progresso, which translates to “a progressive organization” and reflects its high level of personnel coordination and its philosophy of adapting to the times. The motto is a tribute to the many Portuguese workers who, over the years, have contributed greatly to the company’s growth and superior reputation. “Our dedicated employees and their work ethic helped build our company to what we are today,” says Esposito.