Month: October 2021

When rescue personnel arrived at a trench collapse on April 16, they found three workers trying to save a coworker who was stuck in mud and under water. After a seven-hour operation involving 60 rescue personnel, the body of 50-year-old Luis M. Cortes-Correa was recovered. His employer, Dunaway Excavating Inc. of Strasburg, Colorado, now faces $203,628 in proposed penalties for four violations, including not providing workers with cave-in protection and protection from accumulating water, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The workers were connecting a sewer pipe between the main line and a home under construction in Johnstown, Colorado. The area has a high water table because of the nearby Big Thompson River. They were using a pump of some type at the bottom of the trench, so they could see the sewer main, according to the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority. The trench was 16 feet deep, and 19 feet wide at the top. It narrowed to 11 feet at the bottom and had 2 feet of water in it, OSHA reported. As water continued to flow

Construction, engineering and transportation groups are frustrated by the House once again delaying a vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and also having to enact another short-term extension of federal transportation funding.   “Repeated month-long extensions of the federal funding programs for transit, roads and bridges mean that cities and states cannot move forward with critical transportation projects,” says Tim Smith, executive director of the American Society of Civil Engineers. On Thursday, a House vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was delayed after negotiations among Democrats broke down. The House did, however, extend transportation funding until December 3. The funding was set to expire October 31 after a previous 30-day extension. Meanwhile, construction and related industry associations are becoming more frustrated, not only at the inability to pass the infrastructure bill but at leaving states in a lurch with last-minute, temporary extensions. A recent survey of departments of transportation around the country revealed that many DOTs face uncertainty with planned road and bridge contruction projects because of the temporary extensions. In the survey, conducted by the American

In the first stages of GPS-driven machine control, this technology enabled many contractors to park their motor graders and finish grade with a dozer. As GPS machine control migrated to excavators some even found it possible to finish grade complex contours with their digging machines. Now Topcon and Volvo have taken steps to further enhance the precision and versatility of excavator machine control by combining Volvo Active Control on the Dig Assist with Topcon’s 3D-MC software on applicable Volvo excavators. And it’s all factory-installed and supported by Volvo dealers. With the integration, Volvo Active Control automates the digging process and Topcon’s software syncs with the Volvo menus, allowing operators to customize how they want their automatic controls to function.  The combined technologies make it easy to dig straight, perfectly on-grade trenches or carve complex elevations, shapes and contours automatically. The GPS-guided bucket stops when it reaches the designed grade, so you move the dirt only once and you never over dig and thus never have to recompact or regrade using an additional machine. According to Volvo, these features can improve

The U.S.-based subsidiary in charge of the manufacturing and sales of Hitachi brand wheel loaders in North America will now be known as Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas Inc. Effective October 1, the name change comes on the heels of Hitachi and Deere announcing the dissolution of their joint venture for manufacturing excavators in North and South America. Hitachi says the new name corresponds with its plans to establish an independent network of construction equipment sales and parts and services business operations in North, Central and South America. Starting in March, Hitachi will independently deploy new products, technologies and services in the regions. The previous name, Hitachi Construction Machinery Loaders America, was established in 2017 after the company purchased KCM wheel loaders. HCMA will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Construction Machinery based in Japan. Hitachi saw a significant bump in revenue following the dissolution of the Deere joint venture. The company posted a 31.3-percent increase in revenues for its second quarter (ending September 30, 2021), compared to the same period last year. In issuing its results, Hitachi said sales

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has won permit approval and a franchise agreement to build the Vegas Loop under the Las Vegas Strip. The 29-mile underground transportation system would connect with the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop that opened in June. That .8-mile link transports convention center goers through tunnels in electric Teslas and is Musk’s first fully commercial operational tunnel.   The Vegas Loop would have 51 stations throughout the Strip and into Clark County and would have a capacity of 57,000 passengers per hour. The Clark County Commission approved a special-use permit October 20 for The Boring Company to apply for and receive building permits to build the tunnels, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The commission also approved a franchise agreement with Boring that allows it to operate the Loop. Boring would pay to build the Loop and then collect fares from passengers. The commissions says no tax dollars would go toward funding the project. The franchise agreement also faces a vote by the Las Vegas City Council. Along with the Strip, the Vegas Loop

Komatsu has introduced a new “tight tail swing” excavator well-suited for urban environments, confined spaces and crowded jobsites. With its 68-horsepower engine, six work modes and swing radius under 5 feet, the PC78US-11 can handle precise digging, as well as large excavation tasks. The 12-foot 2-inch boom has a greater raising angle and a short implement swing radius (6 feet 9 inches minimum), giving the PC78US-11 the ability to dig efficiently in a crowded space. At the rear, the tail swing radius measures just 4 feet 7 inches. Viewed from above, both the front and the rear corners of the superstructure are rounded, with the maximum cab extension over the tracks at just 9 inches. For fast diggingKomatsu’s newest tight tail swing excavator is ideal for urban environments and confined spaces.Komatsu Good operators like a quick machine, and Komastu’s faster boom up and swing speed increases productivity by 9%. To better match machine performance to the application, Komatsu arms the PC78US-11 with six work modes: power, economy, lifting, breaker, attachment-power, and attachment-economy. For operators who prefer backhoe-style controls, a pattern

You might just see this unusual looking dog roaming around construction sites soon. But don’t call the pound just yet. The robotic dog known as Spot is armed with Trimble’s X7 3D laser scanner and Trimble FieldLink software to collect data while navigating challenging, dynamic and potentially unsafe environments. The full integration of Trimble’s scanner and software with Spot (built by Boston Dynamics) means users don’t have to figure out how to sync all the technology. It comes as a turnkey unit ready to go. “Using the X7 integrated with Spot lets us document changes on the jobsite and make important decisions in the field, rather than waiting hours or potentially days for the information to be relayed to our project staff,” says Thai Nguyen, director of virtual design and construction at Hensel Phelps. “This allows us to make the best decisions as quickly as possible with the best information.” The integrated unit allows you to create a predefined path of waypoints for Spot to follow as it collects laser scans like a well-trained pup. The data-collection runs can be

Erik Christenbury often gets calls from people wanting to display antique Caterpillar construction equipment. But one that stands out in his mind came about seven years ago from a coordinator on a major motion picture. The coordinator was calling from Wilmington, North Carolina, on behalf of the director, and he needed a 1950s era dozer. As founder and president of Chapter 12 of the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club, Christenbury was happy to assist. Assuming the movie was being shot in his home state, he sent a photo of his 1956 Cat D6 9U dozer. He had bought the machine about a year earlier – a rare find as it had less than 900 operating hours on it and all original parts. It was about as brand new as a 1956 dozer could be. He said the director was welcome to use it. He soon learned the movie was being shot in New Orleans – more than 800 miles away from his home in Liberty, North Carolina. Christenbury looked around for antique dozers closer to the movie location, but the

Florida’s roads and bridges rated above the national score on its 2021 Report Card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The state’s bridges were rated a “B” and its roads a C-plus.   In comparison, nationally, bridges rated a “C” and roads rated a “D.” “Only 31% of Florida’s major roadways are in poor condition, compared to 42% nationally,” ASCE says. The organization points out that the state saw a 2.7 million increase in population over the last decade. It attributes the grades to the Florida Department of Transportation maintaining existing infrastructure before starting projects to increase traffic capacity. ASCE also notes that about 65% of the state’s bridges are in good condition. Comparatively, 45% of bridges nationally are rated good. Only 3% of Florida’s bridges are in poor condition; whereas, 7% nationally are rated poor. The state’s gas tax is indexed to inflation, and state funding also continues to increase for transportation infrastructure, contributing to road and bridge conditions, ASCE says. Though the state has a high rate of bridges deemed good, that number has dropped in

The ruggedized phone has seen a resurgence of product releases this year, and this time a seemingly retro product – yesterday’s flip phone – is getting a new look. We’ll first look at the newest offering in this category and then review the other ruggedized phones that have made headlines this year. Cat…with a flip Cat S22 Flip phoneBullitt GroupThe siren call of smart phones has frustrated many construction supervisors observing crew members on their phones instead of working. One possible answer: ban smart phones and require a flip phone. There are a couple of options out there, including the just-released $234 Cat S22 Flip, an Android 11 Go phone that runs on T- Mobil’s 4G LTE network. “It really simplifies what a phone should be,” says Adrianne O’Hare, senior manager, brand marketing for Bullitt Group, the Cat phone licensee. “It has all the same rugged features and credentials that you would expect from any Cat phone.” The S22 is simplicity and functionality wrapped up in an exterior designed to take on construction. Drop proof, dust proof and waterproof, the