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G&W Construction, Lexington, KY, installed over 100 miles of water line last year. The company has 50 years experience installing rural water and some sewer. "In Eastern Kentucky, you don't go very far in dirt," says Daryl Alderman, vice president. "You have rocky soil and a lot of layered rock. Then you get into areas where you have solid limestone and sandstone.
"To do the type of work that we do — utility work in Eastern Kentucky — you almost have to have a rock trencher," he continues. "You need to have one to get the production that it takes to be competitive."
The company must dig close to high walls, so an offset machine was mandatory. "The quarters are real close where we have to dig, and we have to run it with the offset all of the way over," says Alderman.
The company currently has two Vermeer trenchers, with the largest being a 955. One of the benefits of the 955 has been the advanced electronics. "It has a TEC 2000 computer on it," says Alderman. "You just set the knob and it almost runs itself."
Operators don't have to manage ground speed while digging. "There are not many people who have the touch to try to crawl with it manually while digging," notes Alderman. The TEC 2000 system controls the rate at which the machine moves forward. "This thing just crawls as fast as it is cutting. With a little training, I think anyone could operate one."
Alderman also appreciates the hydrostatic drive. He had previously owned a mechanical-drive trencher. "The hydrostatic is a smoother machine," he states. "It is easier to operate. In the type of work we do, and the soil we are in with the rock conditions and all, I like the hydrostatic better."
The metal undercarriage system has posed no maintenance issues. "We have 1,900 hours on the 955 and we have never had to do anything to the undercarriage on it," says Alderman.