An approximately 7-mile-long concrete reconstruction project on Interstate 196 was recently completed in South Haven. The approximately $28-million project began on April 1 and it was expected to be completed by November. Interstate Highway Construction, of Owosso, was the prime contractor for the project.
Randy Hardman, project superintendent for Interstate Highway Construction, said that the schedule for the project was tight.
"We had to have the first phase (the southbound lanes) open by July 3," Hardman said. He explained that the schedule was tight because excavation could not begin at one of the box culvert sites until after the fish were done spawning. "We couldn't start excavating there until the end of April," Hardman said.
"That made the schedule very tight, because we pave over the box culverts after they are installed. But, we met the schedule."
Interstate Highway Construction placed the road materials and did the grading. Subcontractors included Anlaan Corporation, of Ferrysburg (bridge and culverts), and Kalin Construction Co., Inc., of Sodus (earthwork, concrete removal, pipe, and edge drain).
Interstate Highway Construction used a Gunner-Zimmerman paving machine. Interstate is one of the first contractors in Michigan to acquire the new generation Cat M-series motor grader, which it used on the project. The Cat 14M, which Interstate Highway Construction owns, is operated with two joysticks; there is no steering wheel. This feature integrates eight hydraulic functions and a steering wheel into two electro-hydraulic joystick controls. The joystick controls reduce hand and wrist movement by 78 percent, compared to conventional lever controls. The AccuGrade system is fully integrated into the 14M design for quick and simple installation.
The 14M groups daily service points in the left side service center to help ensure proper maintenance and inspection routines. The 14M offers:
- Hinged left and right side engine doors with mechanical stops that provide easy access to service points
- A left side engine access door that provides access to circuit breakers, the coolant tank, engine air filters, the engine crankcase breather, the engine oil filler and filter, the engine oil dipstick, the engine oil sampling valve, the ether cylinder (optional), the primary fuel filter and separator, the secondary fuel filter, the transmission breather, the transmission oil filler tube and dipstick, and the air compressor (optional)
- A left side access door, which provides easy access to the battery disconnect switch, the hydraulic tank return filter and the hydraulic tank sight gauge
- A right side engine access door, which provides easy access to the coolant sampling valve, the water temperature regulator, and the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) compressor (optional)
- A right side bolted access cover, which contains the batteries, air tank (optional) and HVAC condenser
- Standard steel tandem walkways, which provide a sturdy platform for walking and standing, making inspection and maintenance routines easier
The 14M offers a dramatic reduction in service times (77-percent less than the Cat H-Series). The 14M extended service intervals include 500-hour engine oil changes, 1,000-hour transmission and differential oil changes, 4,000-hour hydraulic system oil changes, and 12,000-hour cooling system coolant changes.
The 14M fully integrates all core systems creating a "Smart Machine." The Cat Data Link shares key data among systems, optimizing machine performance while preventing potential machine damage. The Cat Data Link acts as a "spinal cord," connecting the entire machine so necessary components can "talk" to each other. The Cat Electronic Technician (ET) is a two-way communication tool that gives service technicians easy access to stored diagnostic data and lets them configure the machine parameters through the Cat Data Link. This integrated feature reduces machine downtime and lowers operating costs. Cat ET can perform tasks such as:
- Retrieve engine totals for fuel used, distance traveled and hours operated
- Display status of all parameters, such as engine speed, throttle position, timing advance, fuel flow, etc.
- View active and logged diagnostic codes to identify faulted components
- Display active and logged event codes to show engine over speeds, high temperatures, etc.
- Perform diagnostic tests and calibrations, and calibrate electro-mechanical and electro-hydraulic components
- Lead operator through every task Cat ET can perform with a context-sensitive "help" file
- Select allowable maximum speed
Cat Messenger, combined with full systems integration, enhances the diagnostic capability of the 14M. Machine system errors are displayed in text as well as with fault codes, allowing service technicians and operators to quickly analyze critical machine data, thereby increasing machine availability.
"The new M-Series motor grader has set a new standard for motor graders. Joystick controls have revolutionized this machine and have brought it to another level," Mike Lazzara, product support sales manager for Michigan CAT, said.
Interstate Highway Construction has an equipment maintenance program for its fleet of equipment. The contractor performs its own maintenance as needed.
"We have a maintenance program at all of our divisions. We record hours daily and when the time comes to perform service, that service is performed," Hardman said. Service is performed on the job site.
Hardman said that maintenance may not be performed strictly to manufacturer's specifications. Performance history can also be taken into account when determining when to do maintenance on equipment.