Bizzack moves on average 20,000 to 24,000 yds. of material every day on the Wolfe County segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion in Kentucky.
(Boyd CAT photo)
"Very few companies have the vision to stand on a hill and economically determine where the road and bridges should be placed," said Scott Murray, sales representative of Boyd CAT, Louisville, Ky. Bizzack Construction LLC of Lexington, Ky., part of the Lawson Companies, is one of these few visionaries.
Gary Taylor (L), president of Bizzack Construction, with Scott Murray, sales representative of Boyd CAT.
Bizzack has been a fixture of the highway and heavy earthmoving industry for 65 years. It has completed major bid-build and design-build projects in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. For the last 20 years, Gary Taylor, Bizzack's president, has completed multiple segments of the Coalfields Expressway, spanning 65 mi. of roadway in West Virginia and a corridor of about 50 miles in Virginia.
In eastern Kentucky, the earthmoving contractor is relocating mountains of material for the Wolfe County segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion. Awarded in the spring of 2022, the $97.1 million, 450-working-day construction contract expands 11 mi. of existing roadway from an outdated two-lane highway to four lanes.
Bizzack employs roughly 400 workers and owns a fleet of 350 pieces of heavy equipment to complete targeted projects in the $5 million- to $300-million range. Project scope often requires removal and redistribution of tens of millions of yards of materials.
Project shifts run round-the-clock.
"We are a fast-paced company," said Tom Edison, maintenance supervisor of Bizzack.
Jamie Adkins, Bizzack's project superintendent, added, "On the Wolf County segment, we move an average of 20,000 to 24,000 yards of material every day."
Work requires cutting into sections of the Appalachian Mountain Range. Bizzack employs its own drill/blast crew and owns a fleet of drills to build benches between 20- to 25-ft. high. When space is tight, Bizzack's excavators and articulated trucks provide initial material clearing.
When it's time for heavy hauling, Bizzack moves in its fleet of 100-ton Cat 777 off-highway trucks; Cat 992 wheel loaders equipped with 16-yard buckets; and D8, D9 and D10 dozers. Using a trap-loading strategy, dozers push material toward the loader.
"It's faster, easier on the loader and you get a higher bucket fill factor," said Taylor. "We shoot for 100 tons and sometimes 110 tons per truck. With trap loading, we can get an additional two to three yards of material in each truck."
Depending on length of haul, Bizzack pairs three to seven 777 haul trucks to a 992 loader. Loading trucks in approximately four passes, Bizzack's crew has truck exchange down to a science.
"They handle bulk yardage jobs better than anyone else I've been around," said David Cummins, vice president of sales and rental of Boyd CAT. "If you watch their loaders, trucks are spotted in the perfect position for loading."
While one truck is loaded, the next truck is already backed into position on the platform, so it is ready to move in. Murray said on other sites he's visited, the average truck exchange rate is around 45 seconds.
"On a Bizzack job, it's less than 30 seconds," he said.
Bizzack's work philosophy is to use innovative approaches to deliver a cost-effective project for the taxpayer. Taylor studies the plans and traffic patterns to uncover ways to finish the project quicker and with less impact on the traveling public. The company has already submitted two value engineering proposals on Mountain Parkway that have resulted in substantial savings for the taxpayers.
The company's fleet includes new machines leveraging technology mixed with tried-and-true equipment that have logged more than 60,000 hours. Sometimes working hundreds of miles from the home base, Bizzack depends on a regimented maintenance program and trusted equipment dealers to optimize uptime.
"We would not have the confidence to go out and estimate these projects if we didn't have the confidence in our equipment and the tight relationship with Boyd," said Taylor. "They supply us with new and used equipment as well as service and parts support and rebuilds."
Edison has maintenance crew members on every job, completes regular oil sampling and keeps close track of the rebuild cycles of each piece of equipment, targeting three lives out of a machine. More lives from a piece of equipment equates to lower owning and operating costs. Bizzack's dedication to maximizing the equipment's life cycle and getting high production from the older machines impresses Shane Gayheart, product support account representative of Boyd CAT.
"Some of the machines on the Mountain Parkway job were new when I was in grade school," said Gayheart.
The two companies work closely together to ensure all machines keep up with Bizzack's demanding production schedule. On the newer D9 dozers and 992 loaders, VisionLink — Caterpillar's cloud-based fleet management application — provides an assist when an unexpected issue occurs in the field. In addition to tracking location, operating hours, fuel levels and machine utilization, VisionLink helps to reduce unplanned downtime by monitoring equipment health, fault codes, fluid analysis and inspection due dates.
"Boyd can see VisionLink as well, so they often know if there's an issue before us," said Edison.
"We can often troubleshoot ahead of the trip and take the right part with us," said Gayheart. "This gives us a better shot of fixing the issue on the first trip."
This is critical when the machine is working hours away.
Bizzack does all it can to avoid working on equipment in the field, and it relies on Boyd CAT for machine rebuilds.
"We rebuild our loaders at 20,000 to 25,000 hours and dozers at 15,000 to 20,000 hours and plan out rebuilds with Boyd," said Edison.
Gayheart added, "Caterpillar has very high reusability guidelines to help companies like Bizzack get multiple lives out of a machine. Bizzack also is getting the expected 25,000 hours from the 777 truck engines, a testament to its quality maintenance program."
Technology Lends Hand
Efficiency and productivity are keys to successfully completing these large projects and winning future bids. Part of Bizzack's longstanding success with these multiyear projects is its adaptability, innovation and creativity. This includes leveraging machine technology to increase efficiency.
"Every cubic yard that is moved unnecessarily on a big project is money out of Bizzack's pocket. Technology strives to increase accuracy, efficiency and productivity" said Ryan White, sales technology consultant of Sitech Mid-South LLC of Louisville, a part of the Boyd Company. "Bizzack is an early adopter of technology, and they use the technology they have to its maximum potential."
This includes Cat Grade with 3D on its new D9 dozer on the Mountain Parkway project. The technology allows operators to visualize the project in 3D on the in-cab screen in real time, giving the operator more visibility of the site. It helps operators to get to grade faster and with more accuracy.
"This technology minimizes the actual surveying that takes place, and with the use of the automatics in the dozer, it allows us to put the material where we want it," said Taylor.
Bizzack is equipping its newer 992 loaders with Cat Payload, an onboard system that provides on-the-go weighing, so operators hit load targets without overloading or underloading. The company combines this data with Cat Productivity, a cloud-based platform used to gather and analyze Cat Production Management, machine and jobsite data from the equipment.
"Payload gives us a more accurate summary of what our loaders have done," said Taylor.
Adkins added, "We can see what type of production we got from the loader at a similar job with similar materials to help us more accurately bid future jobs."
Technology, innovation and the confidence in its strong relationship with Boyd CAT have helped Bizzack win the $300 million progressive design-build contract for the final Mountain Parkway Expansion segment in Floyd County, which consists of 13 mi. of new four-lane roadway. However, for Taylor, Edison and Adkins, working these long days often far from home is more about the sense of satisfaction of successfully completing the job.
"I just like building things," said Taylor. "When finished, it's a great feeling to drive through and know that you and your company were a part of providing it for the traveling public and taxpayers."
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