Contractor's Choice Awards
Gold Medal Winner - Compaction
Fuzz Bates, vice president of Weaver Brothers Construction of Concord, N.H., is familiar with the challenges of New England’s unpredictable weather.
“We’ve been building roads in New Hampshire for 65 years—we’ve seen it all,” he explained. Weaver Brothers Construction specializes in subgrade and base preparation as well as earthworks for road construction. “Everything but the paving,” said Bates. Weaver Brothers also provides material handling for utilities.
A cold spring did not slow down Weaver Brothers on one of its latest projects: the expansion of the access road from the F.E. Everett Turnpike to the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
“With weather like ours, you have to learn to work with the weather to stay on schedule,” said Bates.
The project expands the capacity of the road, as well as streamlines a number of interchanges. Manchester-Boston Regional Airport serves northern New England, as well as providing a convenient alternative to Boston Logan Airport.
Compaction is perhaps the most critical aspect of many of Weaver Brothers’ projects, and for the Manchester-Boston airport project, it is no different.
“Compaction is the finished product of our job, and if compaction gets delayed, the project gets delayed. If the compaction quality is poor, the pavement won’t be any good either,” said Bates.
Bates said that the equipment they use is part of the secret to maintaining high production without sacrificing quality during poor weather.
“Soil compactors need to be agile and they need to be comfortable,” he said. “Agility and traction are important because poor weather can make a clumsy machine even clumsier, which can have a dramatic effect on the quality and efficiency of the work. A machine with good power and traction is a must. Comfort is really important, too, because if the operator isn’t comfortable, he might lose his focus. That’s when quality slips.
“Today, it’s cold and blustery. I’ve got a Cat CS56 out there working away. We really lean on it, especially when the weather is bad,” said Bates. “My guys like using it because it is really operator-friendly. It’s quiet and the cab keeps them warm and dry. It’s also really easy to use—you don’t need a lot of training on it. The controls are where you expect them to be and the visibility around the machine is really good. It keeps my guys alert and precise.”
Bates likes how the CS56 performs as well.
“It compacts well, but the real bonus is that it has a lot of traction, which is great in thick lifts or when you need to travel off the compacted bed through mud or thick sand. It’s the best I’ve seen on embankments. It just never quits.”