Denver-based American West Construction LLC tackles some of the toughest projects in the Rocky Mountains, such as its undertaking in the Argentine Pass near Dillon. The crew recently completed Phase 2 of the job, which involved installation of 2,000 feet of ductile iron pipe designed to catch water from a waterfall that will go through a tunnel and send it to Georgetown.
Getting materials to the site, which has an elevation of approximately 12,000 feet, involved traversing a narrow, rugged, rocky road up steep terrain. The site itself presented varying weather conditions that often quickly changed from full sun to hail to heavy snowfall.
Foreman Julio Dorado emphasized that having a solid plan to do the job productively and safely was key to the company’s success.
“That included having the right equipment,” said Dorado. “An articulated truck was an option, but with the ground conditions and tight turns it wasn’t the best choice. We needed something with tracks.”
American West Construction worked with Power Motive Corp., particularly Territory Sales Manager Nick Busicchia, to rent a Terramac RT7R rubber-tracked crawler carrier with a 360-degree rotating upper structure and 14,000 pounds of carrying capacity to move approximately 40,000 yards of dirt.
“I’ve been in construction for many years, and I’ve never seen anything like the rotating feature before,” stated Dorado. “It allowed us to load the carrier, drive it to where we needed to dump, rotate the bed, dump the load, rotate it again, and drive out. The advantage of not having to turn a truck to get into position sped up cycle times.”
Dorado added that the low ground pressure — 5.5 pounds per square inch (psi) when loaded and 3.5 psi when unloaded — was another distinct advantage.
“It was a highly environmentally sensitive area, and we want to disturb as little ground as possible and protect the nature,” said Dorado. “The ability to rotate kept us from having to turn a truck and mess up the ground. The rubber tracks with low ground pressure float across the mud. They were also helpful in making the ride more comfortable on the rocky road.”
Power Motive Corp. provided initial training when it delivered the RT7R. Dorado said it didn’t take long to learn how to operate the crawler carrier.
“It’s simple to operate with the joysticks,” explained Dorado. “The left controls the drive functions, and the right operates the rotation and dump. I could easily train someone else to operate it and get good production.”
Busicchia added that ease of operation, 360-degree rotation, and low-ground-pressure tracks are just a few of the advantages of the Terramac rotating crawler carriers. In addition to the RT7R, Terramac manufactures a RT14R, which has a 28,000-pound carrying capacity with a loaded ground pressure of 8.3 psi.
“You can put them in any conditions and get excellent production,” said Busicchia. “The size of machine you need will be determined by the project and what you need to move. In addition to a dump bed, you can equip them in a wide range of ways. There are flat beds, man carriers, hydroseeders, concrete mixers, and welding units. Whatever the application calls for, Terramac can offer a solution.”