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Project Features Work to Replace Needed Wetlands

Wed March 21, 2012 - Southeast Edition
Peter Hildebrandt

Sawyers Land Developing Inc., Belhaven, N.C., is the general contractor doing the project. Sawyers has rented all of the Hydrema trucks that are on the job site from Gregory Poole Equipment Company, the Caterpillar dealer for the entire region from Raleig
Sawyers Land Developing Inc., Belhaven, N.C., is the general contractor doing the project. Sawyers has rented all of the Hydrema trucks that are on the job site from Gregory Poole Equipment Company, the Caterpillar dealer for the entire region from Raleig

When one acre of wetland is taken out of commission environmental laws in place now require two additional acres to replace the one acre lost. Such is the case in eastern North Carolina as work on one site in the region takes away available wetland acreage while at a completely different site wetlands are remediated or added to the region’s environment. This is off-site wetlands mitigation.

Sawyers Land Developing Inc., Belhaven, N.C., is the general contractor on the project and is constructing levees around the land which forces the land to hold in water. Ditches are filled in to help with those efforts as well.

Sawyers rents Hydrema trucks to do the work from Gregory Poole Equipment Company, the Caterpillar dealer for the entire region from Raleigh east to the Outer Banks, according to William Sawyer Jr., vice president. William Sawyer Sr. is the company’s owner.

Rob Plumb is the national sales representative of Gregory Poole and Kevin O’Donnell is the manufacturer’s sales manager of Hydrema Trucks for the United States. He is based in Atlanta.

Hydrema is a 53-year-old privately-owned company in Denmark. The trucks themselves are manufactured in Weimar, Germany, though the company also has manufacturing in Denmark. The U.S. headquarters is in Alpharetta, Ga.

The project involved is a 3,500 acre wetlands project. On the job site Sawyers Land Development is using four of Hydrema’s 912-HM articulated trucks. The HM stands for “high mobility,” because this is a very low ground pressure machine, according to O’Donnell. The psi on the ground beneath the tires on the Hydrema is 12.3.

“They are using this truck because nothing else works in this application,” explained O’Donnell. “It’s a four-wheel drive, rubber-tired machine. The tires are mounted on a 30.5 inch rim and the truck itself is nine foot five inches wide; it’s something that is very wide with low load over height, so the ground pressure on the rear is 12.3 and on the front it’s 7.6. This machine is outstanding for soft ground conditions”

The condition at the location where it’s being driven is mostly of a peat moss-type soil, according to O’Donnell. This is an area with very soft ground conditions.

“The trucks work well in this environment,” added O’Donnell. “With a lot of peat in the soil, when it gets wet it becomes very silty; this is where the trucks shine because they can stay on top and continue on their way. Some larger articulated trucks were tried. But in this material they just got stuck all the time. The Hydrema truck allows the client to work through adverse conditions.”

The other truck being used is a 922HM, a six-wheel drive truck. That one also uses 800-sized tires. The ground pressure with that vehicle is even lower because of equal weight distribution, some 11.9 psi.

“I believe that they will be out there for quite some time working on that site; they’re really only just getting going on it. Rob put two trucks out there to rent. I’d gone to see the customer and went over to the job site on the day that they were delivered, going over the operations with the guys.

“They have absolutely loved the trucks. One of the unique things about the truck is that the body rotates 180 degrees. They can raise the body about a foot off the ground. Then you can rotate it left or right 90 degrees either way. The dump body can turn 90 degrees once the body is raised approximately 12 inches off the chassis. It can then dump material right off the side of the truck. It also has an auto-return so that you don’t have to turn around, watch it and line it up. You just move the joystick, hit the button, the body lines itself up and then comes back down. It’s a unique feature strictly to our product. No one else has that on a rubber-tired machine

The Sawyers crew has been very pleased with the trucks.

“The ground being worked on is a very high organic soil, with high moisture content to it,” explained Sawyer. “We have to use the Hydremas because they have a high floatation-type tire on them; they work great in that application. They’re very simple to run, good-running little trucks. The ones we’ve rented were 12-ton trucks which is the weight that they will hold.”

Sawyers also had a 22-ton (20 t) truck that they’d rented from Hydrema. The 12-ton (11 t) carries about 7.5 to 8 cu. yds. (5.7 to 6 cu m) of material and the 22-ton truck carries 12 to 15 cu. yds. (9 to 11.4 cu m) of material. They try not to overload them out on the site due to the fact that this is such a wet area, according to Sawyer.

“There are times when we may hit an old root hole or a stump hole and get stuck, but it’s not because the trucks are overloaded or under-powered. The Hydremas have plenty of power and run on diesel fuel. They do what they need to do. ”

The soil is a Percosin soil with a high organic content on top and a not very good base underneath, according to Sawyer.

“We just try to give the customer the best quality job that we can at the lowest cost to them,” said Sawyer. “Our goal is for them to be satisfied. The Hydrema trucks have really helped us. They’ve been a vital part of the job. We wouldn’t have been able to do this work without them.

“Gregory Poole actually had two of the smaller trucks for rent. I found out about them, renting one of them on another job, tried it out and thought that they may work on this job. I brought them out and they worked just fine. I rented the two that Gregory Poole had and then brought in a 22-ton one that Kevin had before bringing in two more from Florida and another one from Alabama. The two initial Hydremas were in Caterpillar’s rental fleet and the 22-ton Hydrema was brand new. The other four had not been out very much — if at all — either.”

Work should continue on an ongoing basis for another two years, according to Sawyer.

“It will be on and off for the next two years that we’ll be working with those trucks on that project,” said Sawyer. “It won’t be steady. In addition to this project we have three others going on at the same time.”

The Hydrema trucks are helping Sawyers perform this action.

“We use these particular trucks because they work well in a swampy area,” stated Gregory Poole’s Plumb. “I’m the liaison between Kevin’s Hydrema truck and the contractor; as someone with a relationship with the contractor, we came together and thought this was the best piece of equipment for this application. I was the guy that put it all together with the contractor and the truck.

“We can carry allied products of equipment, such as this product in this situation or application. Even though it’s not in the Caterpillar line it’s something that can help our customers out; in this case it’s the Hydrema truck, which is manufactured in Europe.”

Right now workers using the Hydrema are building a berm around the site. They are digging out to form something of a moat or canal all the way around the site. This material is being taken out and being dumped in different locations for stockpiling of this material. Since this is such a wet material it must be allowed to dry out.

“That’s what they were doing the day that I was out there,” added O’Donnell. “The key benefits with this equipment are the floatation and being able to dump wherever they want with the rotational bottom. They don’t have to waste time backing into a pile and aligning your equipment in relation to the pile; they can simply drive up next to it, turn it and then continue on their way. It definitely speeds up the process. This is a way to maintain a continuous cycle of work on a project.”

Hydrema. does produce other products including large loader-backhoes, wheeled excavators, articulated trucks and specialty items for the military division.

“Everything that we do is different than what the other large manufacturers do and therefore with our product, we fit very well with Caterpillar or any dealer; it’s a product no one else really has,” O’Donnell commented.

O’Donnell signed Gregory Poole up last year with this project.

“Their business will grow with us, they already have five trucks out there,” added O’Donnell. “It’s great to see them all out on one job. The low ground pressure is the main reason why they are there. But things are just getting started too.

“We’ve grown our business so much in the last two years, in a very difficult market with the way the equipment business is, but since we have a niche product we continue to grow through the downturns. Hydrema has grown the market through a variety of dealers over the last three years representing different manufacturers. This has been a difficult market as seen by conditions in the equipment industry. Gregory Poole has done an excellent job of promoting the Hydrema truck in the eastern Carolina market. We have a good mix of dealers throughout the country. This job will show them what success they can achieve with our equipment in adverse conditions.”

Currently O’Donnell is setting up dealers for his products. The Caterpillar dealers have really focused on their 12-ton articulated truck. There is a dealer network working directly with the dealers on marketing the trucks. The 912 HM basically started two years ago, according to O’Donnell.

“We’ve always been involved in lower ground pressure trucks getting around in tight areas, including trucks out on levee projects. Any type of contractor who has used our trucks can testify that the truck can work anywhere; the versatility of the truck is tremendous.

“Hydrema trucks have been used in a variety of different applications that include golf course construction, utility contractors, pipeline industry, levee work, site construction and even underground mining,” added O’Donnell. “

For more information, visit and under Hydrema 912.

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