Bruce Albea Widens Highway 27 With Excess Fill From Neighboring Project

Tue October 14, 2003 - Southeast Edition

When Bruce Albea Contracting Inc., based in Rockmart and Newnan, GA, landed three recent road-widening jobs, the company needed to augment its equipment fleet. Deciding to spend its money on machines from a well-established dealer, Bruce Albea contacted Cowin Equipment, which opened its doors to Georgia customers one year ago.

In preparation for moving an extensive amount of dirt and material for its upcoming jobs, Bruce Albea purchased a trio of Terex TA40 articulated trucks and a Kobelco SK480 hydraulic excavator.

The first test for new equipment was a $22.7-million Highway 27 road-widening project in Troup County, near LaGrange, GA, that included multiple bridges over West Point Lake. The project, which required 1 million yds. (910,000 m) of borrow material, was awarded to Bruce Albea Contracting in September 2002.

A few months later, in March 2003, a $3.6 million road job came up for bid on Young’s Mill Road, paralleling Albea’s project on Highway 27. The two jobs are separated by a mere 2 mi. with several connecting roads between the projects.

“We were fortunate enough to win that job bid, which included about 350,000 yards of excess usable material, as well as some rock that needed to be removed,” said Paul Ballard, vice president of Bruce Albea Contracting. “The need for dirt on the Highway 27 project gave us a distinct competitive advantage on the bidding of the second project. Rather than purchasing dirt and rock, it was readily available for us at the other job. I’ve been doing this for over 30 years and this was only the second time that I’ve ever had this happen — one of those rare instances where you have two jobs close together with one having excess and the other needing borrow.”

With the jobs located so close to one another, over-the-road dump trucks were used for hauling materials between sites. The new Terex trucks were used for moving on site fill materials. Bruce Albea’s primary job was grading, storm drain and base work. The paving and bridgework, which includes construction of four new bridges and reconstruction of three, was subcontracted.

The total length of Highway 27 roadwork is 8.2 mi. (13.2 km) and will convert the two-lane, undivided road into a four-lane, divided highway. If the weather cooperates, Bruce Albea plans to finish the project well before the anticipated completion date of December 2005. The Young’s Mill Road project is 1.3 mi. (2.1 km) and is slated for completion in December 2003.

Some challenges of working between the two jobs included the use of the excess dirt and rock on one project to be used for fill on the other.

“The rock we encountered was needed for embankment material to go in the lakes to build the bridges,” said Ballard. “The challenge was to pull rock out from under the dirt on one project, replace the dirt and then place the rock as a base on the other project — a tedious multi-step process.”

Both Troup County jobs required a combined equipment fleet of approximately 25 to 30 machines.

“The productivity of the Terex trucks and Kobelco excavator was efficient and effective,” explained Ballard. “This was our first experience with 40-ton trucks on a project that size. We’ve used 50-ton trucks in quarries before. All the other off-road trucks we used before had been smaller so this was the first opportunity to use trucks in that size range, and we were very pleased with them.

“The service from Cowin has been exemplary. They’ve been there to support us when we needed it, whether it was to supplement our fleet with rental equipment or to service and take care of the fine-tuning of the new equipment purchased. They’ve gone above and beyond to make us happy with our new equipment and we couldn’t ask for any better assistance,” he said.

Once the mass earthmoving was complete in Troup County, the Terex trucks and Kobelco excavator were sent to North Georgia for a project on Highway 53 in Gainesville. This job also was a road widening project taking a 2-mi. (3.2 km) stretch of a two-lane undivided road and converting it into a four-lane road with a median. This projected two-year job started in April of this year and will require more than 300,000 yds. (270,000 m) of material be moved. All the material is on site, including a borrow pit that was obtained by permission of a private landowner.

For this project there were some cuts required; however, the big challenge was to fill some extremely deep gullies in the hilly North Georgia terrain. Additionally, Highway 53 is an extremely busy road and much of the material needed to be transported across the roadway on loaded Terex articulated trucks, requiring precision traffic control.There are approximately 15 pieces of heavy equipment on this job.

“The [Terex and Kobelco] machines have been great so far. This was our first time buying 40-ton trucks and our first time buying Terex trucks,” said Paul Warren, general superintendent. “In a value comparison, the bottom line was cost. The Kobelco is a good solid machine and it seems to have better reach than some of the other machines on the job. We like dealing with the entire Cowin organization and their service department has met our every need.”