LOUISVILLE, Neb. - At the Ash Grove Cement Co. plant here, it's not unusual for an 11,500-ton contract to be fulfilled over six months.
But after last summer's Missouri River floods ravaged a three-mile stretch of Interstate 680 between Omaha and Crescent, Iowa, the construction contractor needed cement, fast.
First, the pavers requested 10,000 tons of cement in three months. After a strong few months of sales for Ash Grove, that would be tough but not impossible. Then the need became 12,000 tons in six weeks. Finally, the timeline tightened to 11,500 tons in 11 days. Again, as it turned out, not impossible.
Workers cranked up the equipment, and the plant's shipping department stayed open day and night for almost two weeks.
The cement ended up at a makeshift, side-of-the-road plant where it became concrete. The concrete quickly became a new stretch of heavily traveled Interstate, finished almost two months ahead of schedule.