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Arcon Transforms NC Farm Into Modern Community

Mon December 01, 2003 - Southeast Edition

When 500 acres of North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad was first settled in 1903, the land was home to a hunting lodge, a place for one New York man to enjoy a respite from the hurried streets of the Northeast.

One hundred years later, the same 500 acres is being molded into Brightwood Farm, a modern mixed-use community with more than 1,600 single and multi-family homes encircled by walking and biking paths.

Arcon Inc., based in High Point, NC, is the developer and contractor for the new development, which is located near Whitsett, NC, between Greensboro and Burlington. Ground was broken October 2002, and Arcon crews are currently completing mass grading and utility work on phase one of the five-phase project.

Preparing the land for the new homes, which range in price from $100,000 to $275,000, the company is moving an estimated 200,000 cu. yds. (153,000 cu m) of dirt in phase one, which because of additional undercut may end up totaling more. It also is laying both water and sewer pipe, approximately 10,000 ft. (3,000 m) of both, noted Richard Miller, Arcon project superintendent. Nearly 2.5 mi. (4 km) of roadway will be rolled out, pulling together the lots.

Over the last 70 years, the land was used as a working farm and horse breeding facility. “In light of that, there were excessive topsoils,” noted Miller. “The [job site] was not perfect. The unsuitable materials had to be stripped, forest had to be cut down.”

Like many other projects under way in the Southeast, record rainfalls and unseasonable snowfall have made for annoying challenges, said Miller. “There’s not much we can do with the clay in the topsoil when it gets wet. We use the equipment as we can.”

Approximately 30 Arcon employees work an average of six days a week on the project and are using a variety of Caterpillar equipment. In order to strip the land, a Cat 612G scraper works with a D8R dozer to complete cut and fill operations. “The scraper comes into an area and sets the cutting edge on the ground then the bulldozer pushes him through the dirt,” Miller said.

A Cat IT28G front-end loader moves the number 57 stone, which is used as foundation to lay storm-drain pipe. Cat 325 and 330 excavators assist in this operation. Cutting through the extensive amount of clay in the topsoil, a D8R dozer equipped with a ripper prepares the land for future development.

Other Cat equipment on the site includes a D5 and D6R dozer and 963 track loader. Carolina CAT, Greensboro, NC, supplied Arcon its Cat equipment.

“The Cats have really been great,” Miller noted. “And you can’t ask for any better service [from Carolina CAT]. They’re always a phone call away.”

Subcontractor Kirkpatrick Concrete of Burlington is doing the concrete work and Larco Construction Company, Winston Salem, NC, is completing the paving.