Bencardino Finds a Gamble Worth Taking in Casino Job

Mon April 14, 2008 - Northeast Edition
Maura Bohart



And they’re off. Bencardino Excavating has begun the race to complete the site work for the new Philadelphia Park Slots Casino in Bensalem, Pa. The $350 million project will separate the horse racing facility from the casino. The casino has to be completed by Fall 2009.

“I don’t have to gamble in a casino. I gamble every day with work,” said Lou Bencardino, owner of Bencardino Excavating. “We have to estimate the job and put a number on it and then we have to do it.”

Bencardino is confident he can win this gamble, weather permitting, because he has a talented staff and a new machine to help him.

“We have good people working on the project and managing the project, like our foreman, John Johnson and our project manager, Steve Borusiewicz. They manage the job and organize it and keep it moving in the right direction. They are good guys.”

Bencardino himself has more than 20 years of experience in excavating. Just recently, he added a new excavation expert to his team, a Caterpillar 345 CL excavator, purchased from Ransome CAT of Bensalem, Pa.

“We bought the 345 because it’s the most productive 100,000-pound excavator, and we have a great relationship with Ransome CAT. Their service department and parts department is second-to-none.”

Bencardino is especially impressed with Cat salesman Joe Villa.

“Joe Villa goes above and beyond the call of duty as far as I’m concerned. Whenever I need anything, I call him and he takes the call. The guy picks up his phone whether it’s 5 in the morning or 5 at night and whether he’s on vacation or not. If I have a problem, he solves it.”

The Philly Park job will involve milling 72,000 sq. yd. (60,201 sq m) of asphalt from the parking lot and surrounding roads. After milling the asphalt, the company mixes it with stone subgrade and re-uses it for the subbase of the new road.

Bencardino also will strip 20,000 yd. (18,288 m) of topsoil, install 10,000 ft. (3,048 m) of water lines, clear approximately 15 acres (6 ha) of trees, import 60,000 tons (54,431 t) of select material for the new casino building pad and excavate approximately 50,000 cu. yd. (38,228 cu m) of dirt that will be used to fill other areas.

“We’re just hoping for the weather to cooperate,” he said. “When the weather is bad, we can’t do any cuts or fills. We can put utilities in, but we can’t move dirt. It’s going well so far. We’ve been dodging some bullets — dodging some raindrops.”

Another challenge is doing the work without interfering with the current casino and racetracks.

“We have to maintain their thoroughfare and keep them going so that they don’t even know we’re there,” he said. “We want to maintain their business while getting the job done.”

The new gaming hall will be 250,000 sq. ft. and will have more than 4,000 slots machines and three large video screens. The casino also will have eight restaurants and three bars.

“We try to work with our customers, look at the drawings and make sure there are no problems,” said Bencardino. “We make sure all our people are safety-trained and we try to do things on-time. We want to satisfy our customers so that we get repeat business.”