Published Apr 15, 2014

Metso helps Highways, Inc. overcome rain, mud and rough terrain in preparing new retail site

In the retail business, finding the right location can be the key to success. When a large discount department store chain purchased a site for a new store, they knew they had an excellent location. The prime 19-acre parcel of land in suburban Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA, is located directly across the street from a busy shopping and entertainment complex. However, the proposed site needed extensive preparation work before construction could begin.

The project’s general contractor selected the site-preparation pros at Highways, Inc. to do the job. Highways was given just 2½ months to deliver the initial phase of the project, which included the building pad and its immediate surrounding area. To make sure they had the right equipment, Highways contacted Chris Flake, Sales representative with their Metso dealer, Scott Construction Equipment in Lavergne, TN.

Highways, Inc. was founded in 1960 in Brentwood and Cookeville, Tennessee, as a grading, storm drainage, and earthmoving contractor. Over the years, the company has moved millions of cubic yards of earth on grading projects. These projects have included state highways, site developments for large corporations, and federally funded projects. Today, in addition to the grading business, Highways has asphalt, bridge, aggregate and sand manufacturing divisions.

“Because every bit of material we have to move or crush will be used on the site, we looked at all the competitor mobile plants with Chris. Because we knew what needed to be done, we both agreed we needed the best. We wanted Metso Lokotracks,” McDonald said. “Chris immediately contacted Tom Sewell, the Metso Southeast Distributor Manager.”

Site challenges

While the site was ideal for a new store, the hilly terrain of Central Tennessee and the area’s unique sub-surface rock formations presented a number of challenges to transform it into flat, usable land.

“Preparing the site and creating the building pad was a huge challenge in itself,” says Tom Sewell. “Plans called for four feet of 12-inch minus rock, covered by one foot of four-inch minus rock. Plus, materials demands had to be met for a drainage field, and foundations and backfill for 30-foot by 1000-foot landscaping walls on two sides of the main pad site. And it all had to happen at the same time.”

With Sewell’s help, Highways selected a Lokotrack LT1213 impact crusher to feed a Lokotrack ST3.8 mobile screen to produce three end-product sizes. The LT1213 is outfitted with a Nordberg NP1213M impact crusher engineered specifically for mobile applications, with a reinforced frame and larger feed opening. Additionally, a Lokotrack LT106 jaw plant was selected for the project and dedicated to producing only base #12 stone.

Seven feet of soil had to be removed before getting to the proper rock to be used. “If the land wasn’t tough enough, the weather was against us,” observed Todd Martin, the Site Supervisor. “It seemed like it would never stop raining.”

A hilly worksite and wet conditions weren’t the only tests that Highways had to face. Just under the surface, a limestone karst formation had to be removed. Karst rocks have fissures that naturally gather clay and soil, something that only gets worse in the rain.

Metso Lokotrack LT1213 impactor plant feeding a Metso Lokotrack ST3.8 mobile screen.

“Mud seams certainly made the crushing and screening tougher,” said Scott Equipment’s Flake. “At times, a couple of the excavator operators got a little too comfortable because the Metso crushers seemed to handle everything thrown at them. Mud and clay will gunk up even the best crusher. But you learn, shovel it out once and you never forget to keep an eye on the conditions.”

Right combination

Fortunately, the combination of Metso equipment was the right choice to handle the job.

“We were already very familiar with Metso’s reputation of quality and for the equipment’s ability to handle tough projects,” Highways’ McDonald said. “We’re not disappointed.”

From July 1 to August 15, the Highways team moved an incredible 400,000 cubic yards of material, crushed 300,000 tons of rock, and screened 125,000 tons of limestone into 12-inch minus, six-inch minus, four-inch minus, 1.25-inch minus, and quarter-inch minus. “We are using everything for this project even the screened fines,” McDonald said.

McDonald points out that for Highways and their Metso equipment, the work continues. “My team is strong and committed to get the job done,” he said. “They worked 80 hours a week to get us to the pad release date on time. But, we still have more to do and more rock to crush before the store opens in early 2012. For this job, we’re glad we went with Metso.”

Related products