Boston Contractor Uses Highway Miller for City Streets

Wed February 12, 2003 - Northeast Edition

All last year a new Wirtgen W2100 cold milling machine was making easy work of difficult milling jobs in central Boston.

Boston-area contractor Mario Susi & Sons, Dorchester, MA, has taken the unusual step of using the size and muscle of a highway-class machine for municipal work.

Machines in the W2100’s class — cutting width of 7-ft. 2-in. (2.1 m 5.1 cm), cutting depth of 12.6 in. (32 cm) and operating weight of 82,010 lb. (37,199 kg) — normally are acquired to allow a smaller milling contractor grow its business into bigger Interstate-type work.

Instead, Susi has used the W2100 for tough, inner-city street reconstruction.

“This machine can do both, mill an inch or mill a foot,” said Jim Thomas, operator. “The machine goes everyday. Right now, 90 percent of the time, we work in Boston. We’re on a different street every day.”

Susi uses the W2100 for thin cuts as well as the deeper ones.

“We go into some jobs where we’ll have to mill a foot deep, or deeper,” Thomas said. “On Martin Luther King Drive, we milled 8, 9 in. of mix on top of cobblestones; I grind right down to the cobblestones. Or we may hit streetcar tracks. But we’ve been in the city so long we know right where they are and stay a half inch above them. The excavator will come behind me and take what’s left.”

The cold milling machine saves time and money for all parties involved, Thomas said. The W2100 preps the reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) into a useful size for the plant, he said.

“If you dig it out in big chunks, you can’t get rid of it,” he said. “The landfills won’t take it any more.”

Also, Wirtgen’s new Sonic Leveling System is a step up from the old system used previously. “Big difference,” Thomas said. “The camera would take the grades off the ski. But anything, including wind, could make the machine lose its grades. Now I’ll put it on automatic and it will follow whatever the ground man enters. My monitor at the operator’s panel up on top lets me follow what he’s doing.”