Case Loader/Backhoe Performs in Blizzard Conditions
Bruce Rozycki’s crew installed a gas main in a hurry to service 135 homes in a new subdivision in Ottawa, Ontario, while overcoming 10 feet of frost, 22-degree-below-zero temperatures (Fahrenheit) and three days of blinding snowstorms.
Rozycki is the eastern Ontario operations manager for Enbridge Gas Distribution, a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc., the Calgary-based energy company.
The installation had been planned for warmer weather, but delays in obtaining permits held up the project. Once the permits were issued, Enbridge had only five days to install the gas main during nearly impossible winter conditions.
Making fast work of frozen dirt
Frost, combined with hard rock conditions, made the winter trenching project feel like digging through concrete, according to Rozycki. With the frozen ground, his crew wasn’t able to use a directional drill. Instead, they hammered the frozen dirt with a frost breaker mounted on an excavator.
The resulting trench was 2,625 feet long, 3 feet deep and 2 feet wide. The crew installed a 4-inch diameter polyethylene gas main.
To dig and backfill the trench, Enbridge brought in a new addition to its fleet of 16 Case loader/backhoes, the 108-hp Case 590 Super M, which has a dig depth of 15 feet, 11 inches. “The 590 gave us the extra power and maneuverability we needed for working in a blinding snowstorm. The machine didn’t miss a beat,” said Rozycki.
The crew also used the Case 590 to dig the tie-in holes needed to bring the gas lines to the homes.
“Our operators and mechanics prefer Case equipment for its performance, productivity and reliability,” said Rozycki. “Our new 590 is no exception.”
Rozycki reported that his operators love the way the pilot controls on the new machine reduce repetitive motion strain. “The controls are within easy reach, and visibility out of the cab is excellent. But in this situation, there wasn’t much to look at except the blinding snow,” he said.
With the temperatures so cold, Rozycki was impressed with the heat in the cab. “Most of the time, the operator worked in his shirt sleeves,” he said.
Enbridge’s new Case 590 Super M Series 3 loader/backhoe is equipped with four-wheel drive, an Extendahoe, a quick coupler and a 4-in-1 front bucket. “The 4-in-1 is great for cleanup on lawns or the roadway. For us, it’s important to clean up without leaving a mess,” said Rozycki.
The Case loader backhoe made it possible for the new homeowners to move in to the new subdivision. “As cold as it was, we were glad to make it possible for the homeowners to heat their homes with natural gas and move in without any further delay,” Rozycki said.