Two of Achen-Gardner’s projects have won Project of the Year Awards from the Arizona Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project teams will accept these awards at the Awards Lunch during the Arizona APWA Statewide Conference on August 8th at the El Conquistador Tucson.

The Downtown Chandler Canal Restoration has been selected for the Project of the Year Award in the Historical Restoration/Preservation, Less Than $5 Million category. This project involved the restoration of the historic Commonwealth Canal in downtown Chandler. This project was completed as GMP 4 of our Downtown Chandler Infrastructure Improvements CMAR project. Click here for more information about this exciting project.

The Val Vista Transmission Main Rehabilitation CMAR project has been selected for the Project of the Year Award in the Environment, $5 Million, But Less Than $25 Million category. This project included the rehabilitation of more than 8,000 LF of 90-inch to 96-inch transmission main using a welded steel liner. Click here for more information about this exciting project.

One Week, Two Conferences

2019 AZ Water Conference - 8.jpg

Achen-Gardner Construction attended two great conferences in April: the AZ Water Association 92nd Annual Conference and Exhibition and the ACEC Arizona 68th Annual Conference on Roads and Streets.


Achen-Gardner was a Silver Sponsor and had a booth at the AZ Water Association 92nd Annual Conference and Exhibition on April 16-18th at the Phoenix Convention Center. We showcased recent projects, handed out fun and useful giveaways, and conducted a business card raffle every hour to give away some of our 30th Anniversary hats. Click here to download our construction themed activity book, one of our most popular giveaways at this conference.

In addition to the fun in the exhibit hall, there were technical presentations about several of our recent projects:


Achen-Gardner was the closing reception sponsor at the ACEC Arizona 68th Annual Conference on Roads and Streets on April 17-19th at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson. We provided free beer, assisted with vendor prize giveaways during the reception, and gave away some of our 30th Anniversary hats.

We also delivered a presentation about our Fiesta Tech Sewer Service and Lift Station CMAR project. This presentation highlighted how the Town of Gilbert (Owner), Achen-Gardner Construction (General Contractor), and Sunrise Engineering (Design Engineer) utilized the Construction Manager at Risk pre-construction process to identify associated risks and challenges and develop a best value plan to efficiently, safely, and cost effectively install the new gravity sanitary sewer utilizing the Horizontal Directional Drilling trenchless construction method.

Arizona State Prison Bar Screen Wins Southern AZ APWA Award

We are honored to receive a 2019 Public Works Project of the Year Award from the Southern Arizona Branch of the American Public Works Association (APWA) for our Arizona State Prison Bar Screen project for the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department (RWRD). This award was in the Structures, Less Than $5M category. Members of the project team will accept the award at the Southern Arizona Chapter APWA Awards Luncheon on March 28th.


Bar screens are commonly used in wastewater treatment facilities to remove large or non-degradable items from the influent stream. The Arizona State Prison Bar Screen is unique in that it was installed in a gravity sewer to filter debris prior to entering an interceptor. The installation of the bar screen with minimal modifications was a significant accomplishment considering 95% of the associated sewer system components were completed prior to arrival of the bar screen. Coordination between the owner, contractor, equipment manufacturer, Tucson Electric Power, and prison personnel resulted in the completion of the project on time and within budget.

The Arizona State Prison Complex sewer system has a large amount of plastics, fibrous material, clothing, and other solids that necessitate the use of a specialty system for removing these items prior to the wastewater treatment process. This problem was addressed by designing a new solids handling rake system that can handle the unique nature of the solids produced by the prison facility. Additionally, the two gravity lines that exit the north side of the prison grounds had to be re-routed and tied together, before entering the new solids handling system, to create one consistent source. In the future this re-alignment will allow the wastewater from the sewer to be tied into a proposed future gravity line that will be routed west along the nearby Old Vail Connection Road as a part of the Old Nogales Interceptor project. The installation of a solids handling/removal system and a new gravity main allowed the owner to remove the current failing system, which included an aging lift station and a wet well that required weekly maintenance due to debris build up.

2019 Arizona Chapter AGC Awards

IMG_3001 copy.jpg

We are honored to have won two prestigious awards at the Arizona Chapter Associated General Contractors of America 85th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Awards Ceremony.

The event took place on Friday, January 18, 2019, at the Heard Museum and was attended by more than 200 construction industry professionals.

Achen-Gardner Construction received a Build Arizona Award for our City of Phoenix Val Vista Transmission Main Rehabilitation CMAR project. This award was in the Reconstruction Over $10 Million Municipal/Utilities Construction category. Find out more about this exciting project on our website.

Cesar Martinez, Safety Manager, received the Safety Professional of the Year Award. Cesar’s hard work and dedication to safety has resulted in Achen-Gardner Construction working more than 1.5 million man-hours without a lost-time accident. This amazing accomplishment spans back to January 1, 2013, and continues as of this day. During this time, Cesar has been directly responsible for numerous valuable innovations that have helped him to create a culture of safety awareness and support from all levels within the organization. Learn more about our safety program and watch the “Safety Cesar” video on our website.

Achen-Gardner Construction Merger

We are excited to announce Achen-Gardner Construction has merged with Emery Sapp & Sons. This partnership brings together two premier civil construction firms whose values, goals, and entrepreneurial spirit are impressively similar, and we now have the ability to utilize Emery Sapp & Sons' considerable PCCP and AC paving, aviation, and bridge construction experience. Achen-Gardner Construction’s name, logo, and identity will remain the same and we will operate under our current licenses. We are committed to providing the high level of pre-construction and construction services our clients, partners, and industry friends have come to expect from us over the past 30 years.

In addition, Achen-Gardner is now a 100% employee-owned ESOP, meaning every employee-owner has a vested interest in the success of each project that they are working on. Our employees have always been our most valuable asset and we are proud that they will be able to share in our continued success.


In 1972, Emery Sapp & Sons began with a single piece of construction equipment and one employee. Over the past 47 years they have grown into a highly successful and award-winning civil construction company with more than 650 employee owners, 500 pieces of heavy equipment, and jobs spanning across six states.

Emery Sapp and Sons

The Emery Sapp & Sons group of companies offer a comprehensive list of services that include excavation, mass grading, concrete and asphalt paving, structures, underground utilities, and much more. They are also on the leading edge of new techniques and technology in the construction industry including Stringless Paving, Hydro Excavation, Bridge Sliding, and Chemical Rock Fracturing. Their corporate headquarters is located in Columbia, MO and they have branch offices in Kansas City, Springfield, and Joplin.

Primus Line Install Wins Judge's Choice Award

Our Primus Line installation project at Thunderbird Road and the Loop 101 won the ACEC of Arizona 2018 Engineering Excellence Judge’s Choice Award, the highest honor. The awards gala was held on Saturday, October 6th at the Arizona Heritage Center. Congratulations to CVL Consultants (Design Engineer), City of Peoria (Owner) and the entire project team!

Visit the project page for more information, photos, and a video about this project.

Downtown Chandler Improvements Project Wins Arizona Forward Award

The Commonwealth Avenue and Dakota Street Extension project (GMP 4 of our Downtown Chandler Infrastructure Improvements CMAR project) has been honored with an Award of Distinction in the Sustainable Communities category from Arizona Forward’s 38th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards program. The Awards Gala was held on Saturday, October 6 at the Westin Kierland Resort. Members of the project team accepted the award, including Marsha Reed (City Manager, City of Chandler), Dan Haskins (CIP Project Manager, City of Chandler), Andy Goh (Transportation CIP Manager, City of Chandler), Kevin Hartke (Council Member, City of Chandler), Denise Dunlop (Landscape Architect, J2 Design), Dan Spitza (Vice President, Achen-Gardner Construction), Christie Hall (Project Manager, Achen-Gardner Construction), and Scott Colbath (Project Superintendent, Achen-Gardner Construction).

This project created an important new north/south connectivity (Dakota Street) into downtown, while providing a historically educational and aesthetically pleasing experience along the historic SRP open canal (Commonwealth Avenue).

The Dakota Street connection included bike lanes, wide shaded pedestrian walkways, and a speed table to slow traffic and provide access for San Marcos Resort visitors and event goers.  Promoting an urban live, work and play experience was a key tenet to the health, wellness and connectivity of Chandler’s downtown experience and growth.

Commonwealth Avenue was reconstructed/revitalized to specifically preserve the historic SRP open canal, providing a historically educational and aesthetically pleasing experience along the canal. This walkable east/west connection between upcoming residential developments and the City’s Historic Square expanded the west side of downtown, creating a “neighborhood” feel. The historic significance of the canal is captured in back-lit art panes set in an artistic paneled fence accompanied by educational plaques. The blue fence is constructed of several different textures and weaving panels to draw the connection to water. The exposed aggregate walkway contains several hues of blue glass that lend continuity to the water theme. A mosaic of Dr. A.J. Chandler ties the historic relevance of downtown to the founder of the City of Chandler.

The project delivered on environmental sustainability by removing the oleanders along the open SRP canal that had grown into the canal bank, and concrete lining the canal to alleviate water stagnation and create a more positive flow. Energy efficient LED lighting was incorporated throughout the project. Low-water use plant material was utilized. A small green space was added using artificial turf - the infrastructure of this courtyard was built to easily expand and incorporate a water feature, play area, visual technologies, additional shade, and seating. The existing historic palm trees that line Commonwealth Avenue and are a visual landmark to the San Marcos Resort were maintained.

Public and private partnerships were critical to this project. The team worked closely during planning, design, and construction with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), State Historic Preservation Office (SHIPO), Salt River Project (SRP), San Marcos Resort, and numerous downtown businesses and residents.

Arizona chapter APWA Statewide Conference Wrap-Up

Achen-Gardner Construction was a sponsor, exhibitor, and several of our employees attended the Arizona Chapter American Public Works Association (APWA) Statewide Conference on August 1-3, 2018, at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, Arizona.

2018 APWA Statewide Conference 2.jpg

In addition to being a Premium Sponsor, Public Agency Sponsor, and Friday Prize Drawing Sponsor, we showcased recent projects and handed out lots of goodies and giveaways at our booth. We raffled off an Amazon Echo and drew the winner at the official prize drawing. Congratulations to Scott Leska with the Town of Marana for winning the prize.

edison award group.jpg

At the Awards Luncheon on Thursday, August 2, Achen-Gardner representatives accepted Project of the Year Awards for two of our projects: the Wastewater Conveyance JOC project for the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department (winning in the category of Environment - More Than $75 Million) (see photo below) and the Edison Road Extension CMAR project for the City of Maricopa (winning in the category of Small Cities/Rural Communities - Transportation) (see photo right). Congratulations to all of our team members and partners on these projects.


pima award group.jpg

Primus Line Installation

In May 2018, Achen-Gardner Construction achieved another first in the field of pipeline rehabilitation in Arizona when our crews rehabilitated a 1,300 LF section of 16" PVC water line with Primus Line. Primus Line is an innovative pipeline rehabilitation product consisting of a multi-layered, high strength, and flexible material that is pulled into the host pipe and then terminated to connect with standard pipe flanges at each end. The material is both AWWA and NSF61 approved for potable waterline applications and is rated to operating pressures in excess of 450 PSI.

3365000 Peoria Wet Utility Pipeline JOC-17.jpg
3365000 Peoria Wet Utility Pipeline JOC-18.jpg

The trenchless pipe replacement was completed for the City of Peoria as part of our Wet Utility Pipeline Projects JOC. The location of the project was at Thunderbird Road and the ADOT Loop 101 Freeway. Since ADOT would not allow an open cut water line replacement under the Loop 101 Freeway, trenchless construction was determined to be the best approach and Primus Line was selected to be the best product. This approach accommodated ADOT’s requirements, alleviated issues with installing pipe around heavy traffic on Thunderbird Road, and shortened the overall project duration.

This was the largest diameter and longest section of Primus Line ever installed in Arizona, and as the general contractor, Achen-Gardner Construction self-performed all of the work. Two access pits, each approximately 8' by 12', were the only excavations required and the total time to pull 1,300 LF of Primus Line through the host pipe was 16 minutes. Installation of the 1,300 LF liner took a total of two weeks - from digging the first access pit to final testing, paving, adjustments, and striping. Connections to the existing water line, pressure testing, and disinfection were performed in five days. A total of seven workers made up the crew that completed this work quickly, safely, and with the highest level of quality.

Achen-Gardner Construction continues to lead the Arizona industry in pipeline installation as well as innovations in trenchless replacement and rehabilitation options. We appreciate this unique opportunity and acknowledge the valuable contributions from our team members: City of Peoria (Owner), CVL Consultants (Design Engineer), and Construction Product Marketing (Material Supplier and Technical Assistance).

3365000 Peoria Wet Utility Pipeline JOC-38.jpg