Following Hurricane Charlie in 2004, a real-estate boom left developers with the challenge of plotting new subdivisions in previously uninhabitable land.
With lowlands soggier than ever from 155 mph horizontal hurricane-style rains, experienced contractors like Halifax Paving of Ormond Beach, FL, bought 20 new John Deere 250D articulated dump trucks to accommodate the wet topography.
“We hauled with four-wheel-drive trucks until we got tired of getting stuck. We got a chance to demo a Deere 250D in very tough conditions where lowland clay had stopped our other trucks in their tracks,” said Fred Iannotti, purchasing manager for Halifax. “The 250D pulled the holes and walked right around the stranded trucks. Since then, we’ve bought 20 new 250Ds — you just can’t stop these six-wheel-drive trucks.”
It’s not just the trucks’ proficiency in moving around in the muck that has Halifax’s business office so pleased. A 30 percent increase in fuel economy coupled with a 15 percent boost in productivity has made a tangible impact on the company’s bottom line. Serviceability is great, everything is easy to get to, and cooperation with the dealer network is first rate, according to Facilities Manager John Van Seeters. What’s more, the operators seem to love the trucks.
“I learned to drive them in under two hours, and they stay comfortable throughout my 58-hour-plus week. The visibility is awesome, and I never get sore no matter how many cycles I run in a day,” said Jessica Philmy, one of Halifax’s newer operators.
Company Superintendent Chad Kirby gave the trucks top marks for performance in ground soaked by the worst weather Halifax has ever had to deal with.
“To fill in the low and swampy areas of Venetian Bay, we brought in over 150,000 yards of fill, and the 250Ds kept going through 30 inches of rain delivered with a vengeance by four hurricanes,” Kirby said. “If they can thrive in this soup, I’m confident we made the right decision when we signed up for 20 of these Deere trucks.”