Lasting the year

Extended paving season leads to successful growth for transplanted contractor

Article September 26, 2003
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As the entrepreneurial spirit demands, when an opportunity
is seen it is taken. In 1984, brothers Dale and Ivan Moore, founders of
Iowa-based Fort Dodge Asphalt Inc., saw an opportunity to provide year-round
employment for their personnel in the Metro Atlanta area, so they moved a crew,
paver and roller down to Georgia. According to Dave Sundeen, president of the
now Moore Bros. Paving Inc. in Atlanta, "They (the Moores) met a local
asphalt producer and approached him initially about purchasing mix and
eventually about buying the entire operation."

Ever since, Moore Bros. have had a presence in the Atlanta
market, specializing in servicing private-sector developmental contractors.
With nearly 90% of its business coming from subdivision grading and paving work
and a high percentage of this being repeat customers, the company has
experienced extraordinary growth over the years. From its humble beginnings,
Moore Bros. now supports three paving crews and nine full-time grading crews.
Its equipment inventory includes a relocatable Cedarapids E400R counter-flow
drum mix plant and three Cedarapids pavers, including the new Cedarapids 462
rubber track Tier 2 Series paver. "As almost everyone in the industry
knows, Atlanta has had phenomenal expansion, and I am proud to say that we have
grown with it," commented Sundeen.

Employees moving to Georgia from Iowa had to adapt to some
significant market differences. The year-round paving that originally brought
Dale and Ivan Moore to the Atlanta market leaves no winter season downtime for
equipment servicing and rebuilding. Aggregate used in the asphalt mix is a
harder, more abrasive granite vs. the softer limestone in Iowa, which increases
wear. The rolling hills found in this southern market require a more powerful
paver. "It's no Iowa cornfield. In this part of Georgia, we have a varied
topography. Our pavers must have the power to muscle fully loaded asphalt trucks
up some very steep hills," said Jeff Kleemeier, production superintendent.

Another challenge is dealing with the winter and spring
rains. Although drought conditions have been prevalent over the market the past
few years, the rains experienced this past season have put Moore Bros. behind
schedule. A recent subdivision contract that should have taken two weeks turned
into a two-month waiting game.

Hard Cotton

In early January, Moore Bros. began work on the Cotton Indian
subdivision in Stockbridge, Ga., just southeast of Atlanta. The contract called
for grading and paving acceleration and deceleration lanes as well as the main
roads and cul-de-sacs for the development's 96 lots, which were each a minimum
of 18,000 sq ft. Subgrade for the division's roads consisted of a 6-in. lift of
compacted crusher run, 3/4-in. minus stone. A single, 2-in. lift of
"F-topping" asphalt mix, consisting of a 1/2-in. minus aggregate, was
paved over the base. According to Sundeen, "We wouldn't think about paving
a 2-in.-thick mat in Iowa (which is typically 3/4 -in.), but it is a very
durable mat for Georgia."

The 400-ft acceleration and deceleration lanes were
constructed of more material to compensate for the increased traffic loads. An
8-in. lift of compacted crushed stone served as the subgrade. The asphalt mat
was laid in two lifts, a 3-in. asphalt binder course and a final 2-in.
"F-topping."

The rains wreaked havoc on the grading and paving schedules.
To compensate for the torrential downpours, Moore Bros. used a surge stone and
had to perform additional steps when constructing the subgrade. Then the
company had to play a waiting game for the stone to dry enough to lay the
asphalt.

It was not until early March that Moore Bros. could quickly
lay the 2,387 tons of binder and "F-topping" mix to complete the job.
It took only two days for the crew with its Cedarapids 462 paver to pave the
subdivision's five main roads and five cul-de-sacs. Two 11-ft passes covered
the 22-ft-wide development roads. Every several hundred feet the architects
inserted 16-ft-wide, diamond-shaped dividers for both landscaping and to serve
as traffic (speed) control devices.

The crew was impressed with the smooth, tight mat the screed
produced.

"We are very particular about the mat we lay. The
granite in the Georgia asphalt mix tends to show more shadowing than what we
were used to with the softer limestone in Iowa," commented Sundeen.

On the Cotton Indian application there was no shadowing or
streaking. Kleemeier added, "With some other pavers we've owned, the
screeds would leave a streak down the middle of the mat."

Constant climbing

The contractor's new model 462, 10-ft paver from Terex
Roadbuilding's Cedarapids is part of the manufacturer's new equipment line that
meets U.S. EPA Tier 2 and C.A.R.B. Tier 2 and Stage 2 (European) emissions
standards. It replaces the previous CR461R Grayhound model and includes a
six-cylinder, 24-valve Cummins QSB5.9 engine, the rating of which is
specifically programmed for the applications the paver tackles.

The paver drive system of choice for Moore Bros. is a rubber
track with the Cedarapids Smartrac self-adjusting track tensioning system.
Whereas rubber tire pavers are preferred by some contractors in regions of the
country with fewer hills, the rubber track gives Moore Bros. the tractive
effort they need to climb grades. "Most of our asphalt is laid on top of
crushed rock subgrade in which a rubber tire can dig into the base or spin and
flip rocks up onto the asphalt mat," stated Kleemeier.

He appreciated the automatic track tensioning and easy
servicing. With other rubber track pavers the company previously owned, he
would have to worry about the paver slipping the track. With Smartrac the crews
do not worry about the tracks coming loose and can focus on delivering a
high-quality mat. He also thought back to the days when Moore Bros. owned steel
track pavers. "We would have to use dry ice to shrink the pins, and it
would take about two days to change a steel track. We can now replace a rubber
track within a half a day."

The revamped cooling system of the 462 will keep Moore Bros.
running cooler during the hot Atlanta summers. The new design integrates a
single width, triple element radiator into the hood, which cools not only
engine water but also the charge air and hydraulic oil. Radiator positioning
allows cooling air to be drawn from above the hood for cleaner air quality. Air
exits from the front and sides of the paver, creating a positive air pressure
in the engine compartment that blocks the infiltration of particles into the
chamber.

This allows the engine to run cleaner and cooler.

Take it to the dealer

The lack of a winter down period coupled with the granite
found in the asphalt could be a recipe for disaster with Moore Bros. equipment.
The abrasive aggregate increases wear on the company's drag slats and ductwork
at the plant and the spreading augers and screed bottoms of the paver. The
year-round paving in Georgia leaves little opportunity to service the paver,
but Dave Huegrich, vice president of Moore Bros., has a unique system to help.
"I pray for rain so I can take the pavers off line one by one for
servicing."

Even when his crew gets an opportunity, they do not have
long for service. They inspect the high-wear items such as the augers and
screed bottoms and replace what is necessary. Moore Bros. keeps a supply of
high-use parts in inventory and depends on the local dealer support of L.B.
Smith, located in Smyrna, Ga. According to Huegrich, "You don't know what
you are going to get into when servicing the equipment, so you have to have a
local dealer who carries the parts you need."

During the height of the paving season, Moore Bros. needs
its equipment to dependably operate with maximum uptime. Any downtime while
paving could cost the company thousands of dollars.

The entrepreneurial spirit the Moore brothers displayed in
the mid-1980s has led to exceptional growth and success for the company. With a
hot Atlanta market, spotless reputation for quality, successful adaptation to
the market difference between Georgia and Iowa and reliable equipment, Sundeen
sees continued success and further expansion in this secondary market launched
originally to allow winter work for its employees.

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