The operator of a Volvo EC340 excavator feeds the Astec Mobile Screens rap screener.
Having confidence in the reliability of your equipment when you are running a construction firm may be a little more important than the amount of money you lay out for that equipment.
But when both of those factors come out in favor of a contractor, the result is the cost of doing business is low and the peace of mind is high.
Such is the case for Good Hope Contracting Co. Inc. in Alabama, with locations in Cullman, Birmingham and Gadsden.
The paving contractor has definitely come out ahead as a result of its recent purchases of several Volvo machines from Cowin Equipment Co., a dealership with stores in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
When Good Hope began planning last spring to work on paving a 7.5 mi. (12 km) stretch of Interstate 22 in Jasper, about 40 mi. northwest of Birmingham, the company’s management realized that it needed to upgrade its stock of paving equipment.
After Good Hope conferred with its longtime business associates at Cowin Equipment, the paving firm decided to purchase a pair of Volvo P7170 pavers, as well as two Volvo asphalt compactors, a DD110B and a DD140B.
“We went with Volvo for a couple reasons,” said Craig Liggan, a senior vice president of Good Hope. “Price comparison with other machines was one factor. Another factor being, since Volvo bought Blaw-Knox, there have been some positive changes and after we demoed one of the pavers we were very happy with the results. We just felt that with the features Volvo offered on this newly-designed paver it was something we would like to try and see how well it worked.”
Volvo Offers Several
The Volvo pavers and compactors actually have several key features that Good Hope has found attractive.
“Well, one feature that we had to have was the MOBA grade and slope control system, something that we have on some of our other machines that we have gotten good results with,” said Zac Spanick, paving superintendent, Good Hope. “The front wheel assist on the paver is something that we don’t have on any of our other machines, however. It is helpful when you are paving on a crushed aggregate base surface — something with some loose material on the surface where you need to maintain traction.”
He also said that the paver proved to be easy for his operators to run because of the way the controls are arranged and labeled.
Liggan said that Good Hope is seeing better fuel economy and less noise from the new pavers due to their Tier IV engines, a first for any of the company’s pavers. In addition, he said that there is a lot more room around the engine compartment for a mechanic to work on them — more so than around the older Tier III engine-powered machines.
A Total Partnership
Another factor that worked in favor of Good Hope buying the Volvo pavers and compactors from Cowin was that the paving company had earlier purchased three Volvo excavators for use at three of its Alabama plants and rock quarries: an EC480 to work at Good Hope’s Blount Springs sand plant and Battleground quarry; another EC480 for the Ashville quarry; and an EC340 for its Jasper asphalt plant. In addition, Good Hope is renting a new EC380 excavator to operate at its Collinsville, Ala., quarry.
“This whole deal was a total partnership between Good Hope and Cowin,” said Jay Rousey, sales representative of Cowin, Huntsville, Ala. location. “It was a group effort in getting the proper set-up for the job. Craig Liggan is very savvy with regards to knowing what he needs and the equipment required. Good Hope was probably one of the first to demo the new P7170 in the state of Alabama and the first to actually purchase.”
Rousey added that Cowin sent two of its best field technicians, Darren Thomas and Alan Barnett, to the I-22 work site when each of the paving machines was delivered to Good Hope.
“They spent several days working with our customer, making sure everything was right and ensuring a complete comfort level for each paver,” Rousey said. “Tim Jenkins, one of our parts and service guys, as well as branch managers Jess McHugh and Mike Lill, also have been extremely proactive in working with Good Hope on its machine purchases.”
Working on Corridor X
The larger I-22 road project, also known as Corridor X, involves converting U.S. Highway 78 into an interstate highway from Memphis southeast about 230 mi. (370 km) to Birmingham.
The stretch of road that Good Hope just completed near Jasper involved paving the road in both directions, as well as paving six ramps at three different interchanges, Spanick said.
“We started this the last week of April for Alabama DOT and we are on schedule to be completed on Sept. 8,” Spanick said in late August. “We had a rather wet early summer that put us right to the deadline on the westbound side. We have had some better weather on this side [eastbound] so the paving has gone a little bit faster over here. The project involves paving three lanes about half the way, two lanes the other half, with 12-foot-wide lanes and a 10- to 12-foot shoulder with rumble strips.”
Going the Extra Mile
Whenever any problems arose with the machines on the I-22 project, Spanick said that Cowin was quick to offer a fix.
“Overall, the performance of the new equipment has been great,” Spanick said. “We have had a couple of small issues, but the service has taken care of them. Whenever there has been something, Jay has been prompt in getting it taken care of — all we have had to do is give him a call. Cowin gives us 24-hour, 7-day a week service.”
Liggan also was very happy with the warranties that Volvo offered on the pavers and excavators Good Hope purchased, which he said were better than anyone else’s that he looked at.
Volvo and Cowin also made sure to literally go the extra mile with Good Hope, Liggan said.
Representatives of Volvo stopped by the job site several times to check on how well the machines were working for Good Hope, and Cowin, he said, also kept a continual watch on how their equipment was performing.