Among the many tons of steel, dirt and concrete you might expect to find on a bridge construction project, a compact track loader may not be the first piece of machinery that comes to mind. However, when you need to move building materials, sweep surfaces or backfill dirt, a compact track loader is one of the best jobsite solutions.
This happened to be the case for a general contractor rebuilding the Main Avenue bridge over the Red River of the North connecting Minnesota and North Dakota. A Bobcat T300 compact track loader was used nearly every day at the Main Avenue bridge project from June 2003 until completion in November 2004, according to Troy Erickson with Industrial Builders of Fargo, N.D. Erickson said the company purchased the T300 for a site-clearing project because of its high-flow hydraulics but very quickly found many other uses for it.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation awarded the $14 million bridge construction project to Industrial Builders to handle everything from demolition to the finishing touches. “We completed the reconstruction of the bridge, retaining walls and underground,” Erickson said. While Industrial Builders was the primary contractor, he said, there were 14 subcontractors hired to perform some tasks, like concrete and asphalt paving and erosion control.
To complete the bridge linking Moorhead, Minn., to Fargo, N.D., about 18,000 yd of concrete was used with 2 million lb of reinforcing steel and 3 million lb of structural steel. Of the many challenges of rebuilding a bridge, Erickson said, the Red River and cold weather posed the biggest tests. Industrial Builders worked through the cold North Dakota winter to meet the deadline, only stopping work during days when the temperature was colder than -10°F.
Erickson said the Bobcat T300 compact track loader was particularly helpful during seasons of wet and muddy ground conditions, when other equipment couldn’t be used on the site. The loader’s rubber-track undercarriage pushed through the mud in the wet spring and fall months. He says because the T300 was so user-friendly nearly everyone on the site was capable of using the machine to move materials with the pallet fork attachment.
With pressure to keep streets free of construction debris and dirt, Erickson said, Industrial Builders purchased an angle broom attachment and used it to remove dirt from publicly traveled roads. The hydraulically driven angle broom has durable, replaceable bristles and can sweep flush to a wall or curb.