The first dirt is moved by the Komatsu PC200LC-8 hybrid excavator from Roland Machinery Co.
The expansive Illinois Tollway’s reconstruction, rehabilitation and widening project is part of the $6.3 billion Congestion-Relief Program.
By the end of 2009, the Illinois Tollway will complete nearly $3 billion in work to reconstruct/rehabilitate and widen about 120 mi. (193 km) of roadway across the 286-mi. system.
However, one segment of the 286 mi. (460 km) of interstate tollways has become the focus of conversation — the introduction of the first hybrid excavator in North America.
Komatsu America Corp. picked Montemayor Construction to launch the new PC200LC-8 hybrid excavator on the job site of Tri-State Tollway, which includes I-94, I-294 and I-80.
The new hybrid made it to the job site on Nov. 13.
“Komatsu is very pleased to have the first commercially available hybrid excavator on job sites in North America,” said Erik Wilde, vice president, product marketing, Komatsu America Corp. “All told, over the next two months, there will be 10 of the Komatsu Hybrid PC200LC-8 excavators at work in the United States and Canada.”
Introducing Komatsu’s new hybrid excavators ties in nicely with the Illinois Tollway’s “Building Green” initiatives.
According to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority’s Web site, more than 5 million tons (4.5 milllion t) of pavement has been recycled – 3.2 million tons (2.9 million t) of concrete and nearly 1.8 million tons (1.6 million t) of asphalt. In addition, about 230,000 recycled scrap tires were used in materials for new roadway shoulders and pavement.
Plote Construction subcontracted Montemayor Construction for the Illinois Tollway job in April.
Montemayor Construction, based Elgin, Ill., is using the first hybrid excavator on part of the project for I-294, the portion north of O’Hare airport.
“We’ve done four projects this year up and down I-294 and I-94,” Joe Montemayor, president of Montemayor Construction, said. “The hybrid is on part of I-294 between Ballard Road and Willow Road.”
For the PC200LC-8’s inaugural test run, Roland Machinery Co. supplied the new hybrid excavator to Montemayor Construction.
“This part of the project is scheduled to be completed in December,” Montemayor said. “Northbound side is more labor intensive for everyone involved since the center median barrier wall gets connected to the Southbound lanes.”
Over the past four years, Montemayor Construction was involved in numerous full reconstruct and road widening projects along the I-294 and I-94 corridor, on both Northbound and Southbound sides.
“We had a wet start this year and incurred a lot of overtime to stay on schedule,” Montemayor said. “And, today we’re installing the last piece of pipe on this project and then we’ll head north to finish I-94, we’re pretty close to the finish line.”
Montemayor said that the company also performed work on underdrain.
“So far, we’ve done about 13,000 ft. of concrete pipe and 60,000 ft. of the underdrain work,” he said.
Montemayor Construction installed revetment mat and will return to the job site to pump grout into the existing pipes left in during construction to maintain drainage.
“There are 2,400 ft. of slotted drains on both sides of the barrier wall, which is a big project in itself,” Montemayor said.
Roland Machinery Co. and Komatsu picked Montemayor Construction’s I-294 job for the PC200LC-8’s North American job-site debut because of the contractor’s extensive experience with the Komatsu brand.
“Komatsu and Roland Machinery selected us to be the first ones to use the Hybrid in North America since we rely heavily on Komatsu excavators for most of our work.” Montemayor said.
Montemayor Construction currently has nine excavators in its fleet so the operators are familiar with how excavators should work and feel.
Besides the savings in fuel between an excavator and a hybrid excavator, Montemayor noted that there is a difference in the way the motors idle down.
“The hybrid action is really noticeable when you’re swinging,” Montemayor said. “The hybrid uses the electricity from the capacitor, which swings the boom. And, when the swing comes to a stop, it generates additional electricity to the capacitor.”
After just one hour at the job site, Montemayor added that his operator was “really impressed with it.”
“I’m pleasantly surprised,” Bill Warren, operator of Montemayer, said. “Taking it off the trailer and giving it a spin in the parking lot compared to actually working with it today, the machine has been impressive.”
Since 1988, Montemayor Construction and its 15 employees has relied on Roland Machinery for its equipment and service.
“Roland Machinery’s been a great partner to have as far as getting the equipment we need to get the job done,” Montemayor said. “We’ve been very happy with the service from Roland Machinery Co. and Komatsu through the years.” CEG
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