Recent heavy rains in southwestern Colorado caused a washout in an area near the Groundhog Reservoir. Local contractor WCA Construction LLC has been on-site during the past few months to repair the damage and work to improve conditions to prevent future issues.
“The soil here is very erosive, and quite a bit of ground was affected,” said Terry Knight Jr., Project Engineer for WCA Construction. “We’re bringing in new dirt, so if heavy rains come again, it won’t be eaten away as much.”
New dirt is brought to an area just off a gravel road that leads to the remote location. From there, the dirt is loaded onto two Terramac RT14R rubber-tracked crawler carriers with 360-degree rotating upper structures and 28,000 pounds of carrying capacity and hauled approximately 2 miles to the site where the crew places and compacts it.
“We looked at the design and layout and how hard it would be to get a tandem truck back to the repair site,” said Knight. “It would have involved clearing a much bigger area, and if there is inclement weather, the possibility of having to shut down because a truck tends to rut things up and get stuck. The Terramacs give us the advantage of high production even under the least favorable conditions.”
Low ground pressure, 360-degree rotation
Knight explained that with a loaded ground pressure of just 8.3 pounds per square inch (psi) and 5.0 psi when unloaded, the crawler carriers keep production high even when the road and dumping area are muddy.
“With the rubber tracks, we don’t worry about getting stuck,” said Knight. “It’s great from the standpoint that we can keep working.”
Plus, the environmental impact is reduced due to the minimal overall ground disturbance of the crawler carriers.
“The biggest advantage of the Terramac is its rotating bed,” Knight added. “Because we can pull in, rotate the bed, dump and drive out, we didn’t need to make a big turnaround for a truck. That reduced the overall cycle time. We’re making a round in about 12 minutes.”
Easy to operate, versatile
Operator Greg Cantsee said the crawler carriers are ideal for projects like this where the job site is tight.
“They are smaller than a truck, so their size allows us to get through narrow areas more easily, and the rotating beds give us the ability to dump at any angle without having to maneuver to get into position,” said Cantsee. “It’s more efficient.”
Cantsee added, “It doesn’t take long to get comfortable running them either. The joystick controls make it easy. One controls dump and turn, and the other one controls forward and reverse. The cab is very comfortable too, so overall it’s easier on the operator than a truck.”
WCA Construction rented the Terramac RT14R crawler carriers from Power Motive Corp., which also provided initial training and ongoing support.
“The advantages are obvious on a site like this, as well as in other situations where a truck is not a good option,” said Kelly Mitchell, Regional Sales Manager for Power Motive Corp. “This project required a bed for hauling material, but you can also equip the carriers in a variety of ways such as putting on a flatbed, concrete mixer, personnel carrier, and more. They are extremely versatile.”