Crossing that bridge

Excavators Article September 16, 2008
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Take a drive to Port Severn, Ontario—about 90 miles northwest of Toronto—and you’ll come across a recently constructed road and bridge adjacent to Dam G. Most people drive over it without paying any mind to what it took to make the concrete, asphalt and steel piece of infrastructure that helps them get from point A to point B.

When Ian McPherson looks over the completed project, he thanks his team and the new Volvo EC210C excavator (Circle 906) for taking on some serious lifting.

McPherson and his McPherson- Andrews Contracting Ltd. crew had to widen a single-lane road to a twolane road fl anked by new pedestrian sidewalks. During construction, traffi c needed to pass without closing the road. They also had to install a concrete precast retaining wall below the road bridge to support the structure. The wall and supports were to be in an area that was steep, treacherous and hard to access. In addition, it was important not to disturb any of the adjacent properties when removing natural obstacles, excavating or moving materials.

A helping hand

A big eye opener for McPherson- Andrews was the savings that came in the form of their strong, new worker—the EC210C. Instead of subcontracting out the work, they are using the EC210C to handle the heavy lift jobs.

For the precast retaining walls, the EC210C lifted all the 2,000-lb blocks into place. After rock drilling was complete under the proposed structure, the excavator was used to excavate out all the rubble. Access was the hard part.

“We were able to get right in there with the EC210C without much trouble,” McPherson said. “We used it to carry all the material and rebar down there—in a place no truck could go. It also helped us install all the 9-ft x 9-ft concrete forms that weigh 1,500 lb each—not to mention digging drainage channels, backfi lling and fi nish grade work.”

Building for the future

In the past, McPherson-Andrews used to subcontract out various parts of each job. It made sense to hire concrete contractors, large muscle machines, temporary traffi c control units and sheet pile drivers for retaining walls. Doing so was costly, “sometimes to the tune of $100,000 a year,” said McPherson. “By doing it ourselves, we do the job on our terms, our schedule with our handpicked operators.”

McPherson has worked for the company, which his father, Michael, founded in 1956, since 1980. He has seen the business change and the capabilities of the company change right along with it. He said the company is now in a position to bid on the jobs that they want, instead of whatever they can find.

“We will go after jobs that others don’t want,” he said. “You pick your battles and you go after each one hard. We’re able to do more ourselves now and that is exciting.”

A single joystick makes operation easy. Without moving their hand from the blade lever, operators can control the blade’s up, down, leftangle and right-angle movements, as well as two-speed travel.

—Information provided by Volvo Construction Equipment, Asheville, N.C.

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