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Balfour Beatty baker’s dozen proves a tight fit

Balfour Beatty has managed to squeeze 13 excavators into a space of less than 1.6km between two junctions on the M621 near Leeds.

The machines are being used to remove existing metal crash barriers and install improved drainage prior to the erection of a new concrete central reservation.
Leeds-based civil engineering contractor K Rouse won the contract to supply 11 zero tailswing New Holland E135BSR machines for the contract together with two smaller models, the E80 and E50.

The firm’s plant manager Jim McGibbon said the E135BSRs are “the only size of machine that will physically fit in the space available on a live motorway”.

The alternative of an even greater number of smaller machines was ruled out by the nature of the work, which includes removing the existing road surface and concrete sub-base. The high concentration of machines is necessary in order to complete the work within a very short timescale.

“E135BSRs are the only size of machine that will physically fit in the space available on a live motorway”

Jim McGibbon

K Rouse and Balfour Beatty are testing two Tiltrotators from Swedish manufacturer Engcon on the large machines. These hydraulic “wrists” connecting the excavator to a bucket are almost universal in Scandinavia, and enable the bucket to be rotated through 360o and tilted up to 40o in two directions, allowing operators to accomplish more tasks from one position, reducing machine relocation times.

Other modifications include fitting rubber blocks over the steel tracks on two of the machines so they can work on both sides of the trench, including on the lane that is not scheduled to be resurfaced.

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