GPS Performs On Valley Road Project

By Aram Kalousdian, Editor | September 28, 2010

A 4-1/4-mile section of Valley Road just south of Mio in Oscoda County is being reconstructed and widened as a gravel road. The $744,000 project began in June and is expected to be completed in mid-August. The existing road was 22 feet wide. When completed, the road will be 34 feet wide.

M & M Excavating Company, Inc., of Gaylord, is the prime contractor for the project. M & M has been using a John Deere 700 J finish dozer, a Komatsu 51 PX finish dozer, and a John Deere motor grader with a Topcon 8000 series global positioning system (GPS) on the project.

"Typically we use a single mast GPS system with slope to compensate for tilt. It's a combination three-dimensional and two-dimensional system," Mike Fitzpatrick, president of Michigan Laser, Inc., said. Michigan Laser, Inc., of Novi, is a Topcon dealer. The GPS system performed very well in the heavily treed area.

Fitzpatrick said that what is so exciting about this project is the success that has been realized with the GPS system with very few difficulties.

"We've been successful around trees and buildings with the Topcon system. It's not just the combination of satellites, but Topcon has multi-tracking, multi-path reduction, and coaxial tracking," Fitzpatrick said.

"GPS is more efficient when you can go stakeless as much as possible," Ken Nowicki, president of M & M Excavating, Company Inc.

Subcontractors on the project include Anderson Tree Service (clearing) and North Slope (seeding and mulching).

The project includes 41,000 cubic yards of embankment; 70,000 cubic yards of excavation; 34,000 cubic yards of sand subbase; and 90,000 square yards of aggregate base.