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Bizzack Construction Contends With Tough Terrain in W.Va.

15 million cubic yards of excavation for a single project? Not a problem for Bizzack - and Hitachi.

Tue December 16, 2014 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Difficult bid-build and design-build projects consistently completed on time. CHECK.

Projects valued over $100 million. CHECK.

15 million cubic yards of excavation for a single project. CHECK.

When it comes to tackling projects in tough terrain, Bizzack Construction LLC has a checklist of achievements. And the company uses Hitachi excavators to help get its jobs done safely, on time and within budget.

Bizzack Construction and its predecessor, Bizzack Inc., have worked since 1958 in the heavy/highway industry in the rough, mountainous terrain of eastern Kentucky. Twenty-one years ago, it branched out into West Virginia, southwestern Virginia and Tennessee as well.

Bizzack has worked with a variety of clients, including Departments of Transportation, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, coal and power companies and commercial developers. The company has completed various projects such as flood control, site development, overburden removal for mineral extraction, and pollution control for power and coal companies; however, roadway construction makes up the majority of Bizzack’s work.

Moving Mountains

One of Bizzack’s current road construction undertakings is a nearly $40 million project in Logan County, W.Va., for the West Virginia Department of Transportation. The 3.5-mi. (5.6 km) project, “Rum Creek Connector to Stollings Road,” is the final section of the West Virginia Route 10 relocation project, which will widen the highway to four lanes from Man to Logan, W.Va.

Bizzack takes its equipment seriously and decided the Hitachi EX1200BE-6 mining excavator would be the most effective machine for the project. Gary Taylor, Bizzack president; Lester Wimpy, vice president; Doug Plummer, vice president and operations manager; Tom Edison, equipment manager; and Larry Herron, fleet manager; all worked with Dave McCowan, sales representative, and Rudd Equipment Company on the purchase.

“We’ve always had a good experience with Hitachi,” Herron said. “We have a reliable fleet of Hitachi machines and knew we needed a larger excavator. Rudd offered aggressive pricing and a good warranty for us.”

Bizzack began clearing the site in January 2014, and the project is scheduled for completion in November 2015. Steve Arthur, superintendent, is managing the project, which will require 5.8 million cu. yds. (4.4 million cu m) of excavation.

“We have a lot of narrow, side-hill cuts on this project,” Arthur said. “Loaders aren’t as efficient in these areas, whereas excavators can load the trucks a lot faster.”

Working on steep grades is no easy feat. In the beginning stages of the project, Bizzack is using the EX1200BE-6 to load 40-ton (36 t) articulated trucks due to the size of the work area and the steep grade. As the job progresses down the slope, larger trucks will be loaded.

“The speed and the strength of the 1200 have been great on this project,” Arthur said. “We’re getting the production we initially hoped we would get. Once we can load bigger trucks, we’ll be able to increase our production.”

Eric Lusk, an operator of Bizzack, said the EX1200BE-6 is exceeding his expectations.

“I didn’t expect the quickness,” Lusk said. “I thought it might be slow because of its size, but it’s really fast and has good production. It’s an impressive machine, and the power is unbelievable.”

The EX1200BE-6 isn’t the only workhorse on the job. Bizzack has five more Hitachi excavators on site: ZX330LC, ZX350LC-3, ZX370 and two ZX850LC-3s.

“We use the smaller Hitachi excavators to complete the slope and custom work to finish the job,” Arthur said.

Bizzack also does its own blasting and drilling. The “Rum Creek Connector to Stollings Road” project involves mostly sand rock and shale that has to be blasted before digging. With blasting, drilling and cuts up to 500 ft. (152 m), safety is absolutely crucial. While Bizzack has a dedicated safety director, Arthur manages safety on a day-to-day basis for the 30-40 workers on the job site.

“We’ve got guys who have worked in the mountains their whole lives,” Arthur said. “We’re very selective when it comes to our operators. They need to operate the machines safely and productively. This is a dangerous job; we’re working on steep terrain, and there are houses around.”

A Formula for Success

This isn’t the first time Bizzack has gone up against the rough terrain of Logan County. In early 2014, the company completed another project along West Virginia Route 10, “North of Davy Branch to Rum Creek Connector,” which involved moving 3 million cu. yds. (2.3 million cu m). In 2013, the company completed a portion of the section along the route, moving 400,000 cu. yds. (305,822 cu m) within a 90-day deadline. Bizzack’s Hitachi excavators have helped conquer the challenges of each job.

“Hitachi excavators are tough,” Arthur said. “I don’t think you can wear them out.”

While the EX1200BE-6 is quickly racking up hours, Bizzack’s two ZX850LC-3 excavators, with 22,000 hours and 15,000 hours, are still going strong.

“Hitachi makes reliable machines,” Herron said. “We maintain our machines and have strong dealer support. Rudd is a big part of our success.”

And Herron is confident Bizzack has the right formula for success.

“There’s a right way of doing things and a wrong way of doing things,” he said. “And that’s why Bizzack excels … because we have the right people and the right equipment.”

Bizzack Construction LLC is serviced by Rudd Equipment Company, Prestonsburg, Ky

This article was originally published in Hitachi’s BREAKOUT publication, fourth issue, 2014.

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