If one ever worked for a company that outgrew its office space, having to share close-quarters with co-workers, then one would understand the conditions Mark North Erosion Systems faces on its most recent project.
There were four entities involved on the site located in Grand Prairie, TX, off Interstate 30 between Dallas and Fort Worth. Simultaneously, one contractor was finishing construction of an auto plant; another was building a new railway track for plant distribution services; and two others handled the storm drain construction, which consisted of 4 barrel 7.5 by 8 ft. (2.29 by 2.44 m) box culverts and erosion control in four areas along the creek.
The scope of North’s project was to install four gabion structures around the culverts in order to protect the undermining of concrete from heavy rainfall. All four structures were built in a period of less than three weeks with a crew of five and a Schaeff SKL 823 wheel loader with a .94-cu.-yd. bucket. Wire baskets were assembled, tied together and placed in an excavated area. Rocks were then emptied into the baskets, using the wheel loader and the basket tops were secured. (The structure being constructed on the day of the photos consisted of 38 cu. yds. of rock.)
“Due to the tight works space, the wheel loader is perfect. There is just enough room to get by the excavator and the stockpiles of materials,” explained Foreman Chris Williams. “And, the ground is very soft and rough because we are near a creek. The loader has no problem working on this terrain due to the high ground clearance and limited slip differentials,” Williams added.
The SKL 823 wheel loader has been outfitted with the universal coupler, which attaches to the loader arms to accept skid steer attachments. “It adds versatility, without additional expense of new attachments,” remarked Williams.
Schaeff’s SKL 823 is 65 in. (165 cm) wide, weighs 4.55 tons (4.1 t), has a 17 in. (43.18 cm) ground clearance and is powered by a Perkins four-cycle, 50-hp (37.27 kW) engine. The limited slip differential works on both axles. If one wheel is spinning, the torque is transferred automatically to the other wheel to get out of the rut. The rear axle oscillates when on uneven ground so the loader, and its load, are always level.