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Waterlogged Walgreens Site Work Wraps Up

Wed October 04, 2006 - Northeast Edition
Kate Zanoni

Mather Corporation of Bloomfield, CT, is currently on one of the largest jobs the company has ever seen — the site preparation work for a new Walgreens northeast distribution center. The job entails moving millions of yards of dirt, which is primarily glacial till.

The site is a virgin site, which was primarily farmland. However, there is a hill located at the back of the property that is being removed and the soil will be redistributed toward the front of the property. There is very little material processing being done on the site because there is a minimal amount of rock or stone that can be processed.

Mather Corporation is working on the project with general contractor Korte Corporation of Indianapolis, IN.

The project began in June and is scheduled for completion on Oct. 1, 2006.

Mather Corporation is responsible for all of the excavation, building of the concrete pad, and installation of the utilities. Due to the enormity of the project, Mather is partnering with Borggaard Construction, working closely together to complete the job. This is the fifth project that they have worked on together.

Work Site Specs

The Walgreens site is 100 acres (40.5 ha) in size. The facility being built will be 800,000 sq. ft. (74,322 sq m). Twenty-three acres (9.3 ha) of asphalt will be poured. Utilities include 15,000 ft. (4,572 m) of site lighting, 11,000 ft. (3,352.8 m) of water utilities, 3,500 ft. (1,066.8 m) of sanitary utilities, and 11,000 ft. (3,352.8 m) of storm drainage.

“To give you an idea of just how big this Walgreens project is, we are consuming 2,800 gallons of gasoline a day,” said Bruce Aslanian of Borggaard Construction.

According to Woody Mather, who runs Mather Corporation with his brother Todd, “One of the biggest challenges of this project has been staying on schedule. This has been one of the wettest summers in recorded history for Connecticut, which makes the large machines that are available through Borggaard critical to meeting schedule.”

The relationship between Mather Corporation and Borggaard Construction goes back many years, including a Lowe’s site in Plainfield, CT, that involved the excavation of 1.3 million yds. (1.2 million m) of materials.

“Over the years we have developed a comfort level in working with Borggaard Construction,” said Mather. “They are the people we consistently go to when we need big iron to get the bigger jobs done.”

Some of the large machines that are on the job site include: several rigid-frame Cat 773 trucks; a fleet of approximately 12 Cat 631 and 637 scrapers; several Cat 922C 10-yd. loaders; several Cat 345 and 375 excavators (the 375 excavators exceed 140,000 lbs.); a fleet of seven Cat D8 and D9 dozers; four Cat soil compactors; two Cat water trucks; and a Cat H16 motorgrader.

The on-site fleet also includes numerous smaller machines and more equipment is on the way. When conditions allow, the companies are moving 20,000 yds. (18,288 m) of material per day. The goal is to create a flat balanced site by moving material from the hill to the lower points on the property. A total of 1.4 million yds. (1.3 million m) of material will be moved.

There are currently 40 people working on the site. At peak, as many as 60 will be working on the site. All materials are generated from the site except for 150,000 tons (136,078 t) of base material that is being brought in. Contractors originally hoped that the base material could be crushed on site, but there was not enough rock on the property to make this feasible.

Keeping the site moving as fast and efficiently as possible is critical to Mather and Borggaard. Currently they have four service trucks on site to keep everything operating at its peak performance.

Overcoming Obstacles

Despite Mather and Borggaard’s progress and resilience on the project, the contractors have met with some encumbrance.

According to Woody Mather, “The water has been a huge problem. The extensive amount of rain has made the water table very high, which creates problems with the utility work. We have received two or three times the average amount of rainfall. The soil on the site is silty and does not handle water well.

“The Tennessee Gas Company has a gas line that cuts across the property,” he added. “We needed to create a bridge crossing that gas line at two different locations.”

Aslanian agreed that the biggest challenge on this project has been the rain.

“In one month we received eighteen inches of rain, which makes it harder and harder to stay on schedule. That is where our large fleet of big machines is crucial. We currently have 165 pieces of earthmoving machines and most of them would fall into the large machines category. Our excavators are Cat 330 size or larger and our dozer fleet starts at Cat D6 and moves up from there.

“Our fleet includes very few small machines,” he added. “That is why we are often called for large excavation projects that are time sensitive. When Foxboro stadium was rebuilt at the last minute, we moved 300,000 yards of material for a parking lot and we were in and out in a short period of time. To get that job done, we worked Monday through Friday, ten hours a day and put in eight hours on Saturday.”

About Borggaard Construction Corporation

Borggaard Construction Corporation was founded by Howard Borggaard with one Cat dozer, and today it is one of the largest site work contractors in the state of Massachusetts. Borggaard, who started out as a farmer, lives by the motto “bigger is better.”

Today the company’s typical projects range in size from moving 50,000 yds. (45,720 m) of material up to 1.7 million yds. (1.6 million m) of material, which was moved during the Manchester New Hampshire Airport project. Most of its work is concentrated in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

In addition to site work, the company also does landfill closures.

Over the years its fleet has grown through the purchase of new and used Cat machines. Borggaard has found that anywhere it works in New England, whether it is Milton Cat or H.O. Penn Machinery, the Cat dealer gives the company service and parts availability along with a range of machines available for rental.

“Our fleet is almost entirely Caterpillar,” said Aslanian. “That’s because the machines are reliable, have minimal breakdowns, and the Caterpillar dealers give us great service.”

About Mather Corporation

Mather Corporation was founded in 1927 and has been working ever since to establish and maintain its reputation as a fast track heavy/highway contractor.

Mather’s fast track services include clearing, grubbing, grading, blasting, erosion control, utilities, paving site lighting, landscaping, sidewalks, curbing, retaining walls, fencing and guard rails. The company also provides construction services for malls, churches, hospitals, grocery stores, recreational facilities, and other commercial and industrial sites.

According to Woody Mather, the company is one of the largest excavation and site work contractors in Connecticut. It does a volume of approximately $25 million per year. The company is privately held by the Mather family.

Most of its work is in Connecticut and western Massachusetts, however it is currently doing more work for out-of-state general contractors. It has a fleet in excess of thirty machines, most of which are Caterpillar.

“We have been using Caterpillar machines from the very early stages of our company,” said Mather. “My great grandfather dredged sand out of the Connecticut River and sold the material that they pulled out. He used Caterpillar machines way back then. My grandfather moved out of the materials business and moved the company towards excavation. When my father returned from Korea after the war, he joined the company and was responsible for a huge growth period, which started by doing work for the Army Corps of Engineers repairing hurricane damage from a storm that hit Connecticut in 1955.

“Our company has stayed committed to the use of Caterpillar machines throughout our growth. I went to college for forestry and was also an operating engineer. When I returned from college, Dad placed me in charge of the company’s maintenance department. I was impressed by the level of Caterpillar maintenance and support programs, the depth of equipment types available from Caterpillar, and the longevity of the equipment. Even within our truck fleet, most of them are running Cat engines. One of the things that my dad used to say to me was ’stick with what you know,’ and I know Caterpillar equipment from H.O. Penn Machinery gets the job done for us.”

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