Melrose Squeezes in Iron for Bulkhead Work on Long Island

Thu January 27, 2005 - Northeast Edition

The task: Installing 395 ft. of new 10-ft.-high bulkhead within 10 ft. of the dining room at the posh Port Washington Yacht Club on Manhasset Bay in Port Washington, NY.

The solution: Melrose Marine Service Inc., (MMS), Greenport, NY, is using a light, easily-operated Komatsu SK1020-5 skid steer loader with hydraulic controls to bring materials to the job site and help install pilings.

“It’s small enough to run along the edge of the bulkhead and not distract diners,” said Eric Melrose, president of the company. “It also acts as a power pack to operate the hydraulics for installing the helical anchors used for tiebacks.”

Melrose is building the new bulkhead, which includes vinyl sheathing behind pilings and whalers, in front of the old deteriorated bulkhead. During the three and a half month project, the equipment must operate in tight spaces, lift materials, and carry the vinyl and other materials across an asphalt driveway. It also must run across an old blown-out section of bulkhead without causing a cave-in.

Melrose, which has constructed piers, bulkheads and other marine structures in the Long Island area for more than 36 years, purchased the 70-hp (52.2 kW) SK1020-5 from Edward Ehrbar Inc., Pelham Manor, NY, especially for this job.

“We purchased the SK1020-5 to carry the materials and provide the hydraulics that we needed,” Melrose said. “The machine has SUPERFLOW hydraulics — 34 gallons a minute — and is the right size for working well in tight spots like the bulkhead work. We also became sold on the pilot controls and tremendous ease of operation. Virtually anyone in our work crew could operate the machine with very little training.”

The controls use Proportional Pressure Control (PPC) joysticks, which operate travel and loader operations.

The SK1020-5’s auxiliary hydraulic controls allow operators to utilize front-mounted hydraulic attachments needed in the project. Power from the machine also operates hydraulics, which run a hydraulic motor drive for installing helical tieback anchors at torques up to 10,000 ft./lbs.

Though not used on this project, attachments also include a hydraulically powered chainsaw and a hydraulic impact wrench, both of which can operate under water. The rubber-tired SK1020-5 also doesn’t damage the asphalt driveway, is light enough —7,500 lbs. (3,402 kg) — to avoid possible cave-ins, and is easily transportable to other job sites, if needed. The skid steer allows two-speed travel, with shift on the go.

Melrose also uses a Komatsu PC120 excavator for material handling on the bulkhead job. This machine, purchased in 1986, has served Melrose well.

“Our good experience with Komatsu was really the main reason we purchased the SK1020-5, besides the machine’s capability,” Melrose said. “I have had a very great experience thus far with Ehrbar and with my PC120, which has been an extremely reliable machine. Other than a water pump failure and regular maintenance, it has never needed other work. That has made quite an impression on us.”

Melrose uses a waterjet to install the Greenheart pilings and the vinyl sheathing.

Melrose Marine was founded in 1968 by Eric’s father, Jim. The company owns and maintains a fleet of equipment, including tug boats, crane barges, land-based cranes and trucks, for both marine and shoreside projects, from simple floating docks to major reconstruction of marinas.