It's one thing to cross that bridge when you come to it, and yet another when it's your job to tear it down, widen it or build it. For McPherson-Andrews, it's all in a day's work.
Bigger, better, stronger
Take a drive to Port Severn, Ontario about 90 miles north-west of Toronto and you'll come across a recently constructed road and bridge adjacent to Dam G. Most people drive over it without paying any mind to what it took to make the concrete, asphalt and steel piece of infrastructure that helps them get from point A to point B. When Ian McPherson looks over the completed project, he thanks his team and the new Volvo EC210C Excavator for taking on some serious heavy lifting. Flashback to the beginning of the job. Ian McPherson and his McPherson-Andrews Contracting Ltd. crew had done jobs like this before. This time they had to widen a single lane road to a two-lane road flanked by new pedestrian sidewalks. During construction traffic needed to pass without closing the road. They also had to install a concrete pre-cast retaining wall below the road bridge to support the structure. The wall and supports were to be in an area that was steep, treacherous and hard to access. In addition, it was important not to disturb any of the adjacent properties when removing natural obstacles, excavating or moving materials.
In the past, McPherson-Andrews used to sub-contract out various parts of each job. It made sense to hire concrete contractors, large muscle machines, temporary traffic control units and sheet pile drivers for retaining walls. But more and more, McPherson is finding ways to do it himself with the right equipment. "For the type of job in Port Severn, we used to hire out sub-work to 3-4 other companies," said Ian McPherson, company vice president. "We owned backhoe loaders and machines of that size, but nothing to handle the really big jobs." Hiring out contractors also was costly. "Sometimes to the tune of $100,000 a year," continued McPherson. "By doing it ourselves, we do the job on our terms, our schedule with our hand-picked operators."
A big helping hand
A big eye opener for McPherson-Andrews was the savings that came in the form of their strong, new worker - a Volvo EC210C Excavator. Instead of sub-contracting out the work, they're using the EC210C to handle the heavy lift jobs. For the pre-cast retaining walls, the Volvo EC210C lifted all the 2,000 lb. blocks into place. After rock drilling was complete under the proposed structure, the Volvo was used to excavate out all the rubble. The hard part - was access. "We were able to get right in there with the EC210C without much trouble," recalled Ian McPherson. "We used it to carry all the material and rebar down there - in a place no truck could go. It also helped us install all the 9' x 9' concrete forms that weigh 1,500 lbs. each - not to mention digging drainage channels, backfilling and finish grade work."
There's no stopping now
Since the Volvo EC210C has become part of the McPherson-Andrews workforce, it hasn't stopped working. Ian claims they run the machine constantly, about 40-50 hours per week. That says something about a machine they previously thought they could live without. The workload - and the cost savings - has led to one clear conclusion: it's time to get another one. "We realize we need another one, and it will only be another Volvo," said Ian McPherson. "Volvo has everything we need over all the other competitors. And we know, because we looked."