GPS Cuts Costs

By Aram Kalousdian, Editor | September 28, 2010

Two parking lots are being reconstructed at Delta College north of Saginaw. The existing asphalt is being milled off and used as a subbase. A porous asphalt pavement product is being used for the parking lots. "It lets the water run through and hit drainage later in the curb and gutter islands. This is supposed to help with some of the runoff. This should make it more environmentally friendly," David Marx, president of Champagne & Marx, said. Champagne & Marx, of Saginaw, is the prime contractor for the project. The project includes the realignment of a 2,300-foot section of county drain.

The approximately $4.3-million project began in May and it is expected to be completed in August. Champagne & Marx is using a Cat AccuGrade global positioning system (GPS) on its Cat D5K LGP and Cat D6K LGP dozers that are working on the project.

"The GPS equipment has made the work a little easier than the conventional type of grade work. With architectural design, you have a lot of rolling in your retention ponds and different elevations, and GPS made that a whiz to do," Marx said.

"GPS has cut our labor costs and our machine time. It's made grading the project a lot smoother. It makes it a lot easier to double check your elevations."

Champagne & Marx is using the Dual Cat AccuGrade MS990C antenna, the AccuGrade CD700 display, and the TC900C radio with two-way communication on the D5K LGP and the D6K LGP. The D5K LGP and the D6K LGP machines have a factory installed electro-hydraulic system, which is deeply integrated to work with the Cat AccuGrade components.

Key features and benefits of the MS990C GPS receiver include:

  • A new advanced RTK engine (computer chip)
  • Faster initialization
  • A 72-channel L1/L2/L2C/L5/GLONASS/GPS receiver
  • Tracking the new and stronger L2C signal available from the modernized GPS satellites with increased signal-to-noise ratios for better performance around trees.
  • Maximum multipath error reduction
  • Superior low elevation tracking
  • G1 and G2 carrier phase measurements from the GLONASS satellite constellation
  • Advanced tree canopy detection algorithms

The Trimble-provided RTK reference system includes the SPS851 base and radio with the Zephyr Geodetic Model 2 receiver. The survey rover includes the SPS881 receiver and TSC2 controller with the SCS900 construction software.

The project includes 64,000 square yards of asphalt milling; 75,473 cubic yards of excavation; 64,000 square yards of new asphalt pavement; 2.003 feet of 12-inch to 36-inch concrete pipe; 2,940 feet of 8-inch to 18-inch perforated pipe; and three three-sided 42-foot by 12-foot precast concrete culverts.

Subcontractors include Eastlund Concrete, of Holt (curb and gutter), and Pyramid Paving, of Bay City (asphalt paving).