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Two high-reach demolition excavators tear down major bridge in Kansas City

July 16, 2020
A Volvo EC750E HR and EC480D HR work side-by-side to make quick work of the I-435 and I-70 interchange reconfiguration in Kansas City.
A Volvo EC750E HR and EC480D HR work side-by-side to make quick work of the I-435 and I-70 interchange reconfiguration in Kansas City.

Just east of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, the interchange reconfiguration of I-435 and I-70 is nearing completion. Comprised of 11 new bridges, pavement widening, and more, it is a massive undertaking that the city and state wanted to complete with as little disruption to traffic as possible.

That is why the team at Greg Bair Track Hoe Services Inc. put extra effort into demolishing two bridges—about 450 ft long and 50 ft high—in about two and a half days.

Because of the time crunch, the crew put together an equipment fleet that included two high-reach demolition excavators: a Volvo EC750E HR and EC480D HR.

“These bridges were very tall, so a normal excavator couldn’t reach them,” said Greg Bair, president. “And because of the short time frame, we decided to use two.”

Greg Bair Track Hoe Services was a smart pick for this challenging, time-sensitive job. The company, based in the Kansas City area, has been in the demolition business for three decades. 

For the February 2020 interstate project, four weeks of prep work were essential to meeting the deadline, said Bair’s estimator and project manager, Andy Shorten.

“We were mobilizing equipment, assembling things, staging materials and trailers, coordinating traffic control and security, and laying out plans,” Shorten said. 

Some machines would be able to work on the bridge decks, but most of the demolition happened from the ground.That is what made the high-reach excavators so essential. They ran the standard booms with extensions on each machine, bringing the reach of the EC480D to 51 ft 9 in. and the EC750E to 59 ft. 

The standard hydraulically tilting cabin tilts up to 30 degrees to enhance visibility and reduce operator fatigue and neck strain on high-reach jobs.
The standard hydraulically tilting cabin tilts up to 30 degrees to enhance visibility and reduce operator fatigue and neck strain on high-reach jobs.

The Volvo EC750E high-reach is Volvo Construction Equipment’s newest demolition excavator and was brand new to Bair’s fleet.

“The Volvo high-reach excavators’ stability is their biggest asset,” Shorten said. “On the 750, we ran a 15,000-lb attachment nearly 60 ft in the air. The working range with a far reach and a heavy attachment seemed to have no limit.”

Shorten said the Volvo EC480 HR hammered down the pillars and ran a 10,000-lb NPK-E225 hoe ram to break the vertical walls of the bridges, while the 750 worked behind it using an Epiroc CC6000 Combi Cutter attachment to crunch the horizontal slabs and 1.5-in. rebar.

“We used these Volvo demolition excavators to the max for a weekend, and they treated us real well,” Bair said.

Shorten said the company’s relationship with their local dealer, Van Keppel, was a key to success on the job as well.

“In the weeks leading up to the job, they went above and beyond to make sure the equipment was in prime shape, including the brand new 750 high-reach,” he said. “We didn’t even need them on the jobsite that weekend.”

Thanks to reliable equipment, a strong dealer relationship, and a hardworking team, the weekend of work actually wrapped up sooner than expected.

Take a look at the Volvo high-reach excavator lineup that gives you unprecedented power, protection, and reach at volvoce.com/demo.

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Editor's Note: Scranton Gillette Communications and the SGC Infrastructure Group are not liable for the accuracy, efficacy and validity of the claims made in this piece. The views expressed in this content do not reflect the position of the Roads & Bridges' Editorial Team.

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