Volvo makes a splash in coloradoPublished 15/9, 2017 at 12:20
In the US Colorado-based contractor, Whinnery Construction is using Volvo excavators with a rocksaw attachment to improve the Animas River in the Durango Whitewater Park, ensuring a safe passage for white water enthusiasts.
Situated along a 203km section of the Colorado River System, the park is one of the nation’s top whitewater stretches with flow rates up to 170m3/s. It is undergoing a US$60,000 (€50,400) renovation to widen and lower the existing structures. Whinnery Construction, based in Lake City, Colorado, is working on two of the structures that involves trimming rocks, secured in concrete. The company, that has teamed up with S2o Design is a leading design and engineering company involved in white water park design and river engineering projects, such as the 2012 Olympics canoe slalom course.
Over the last two decades, Whinnery Construction has performed river restoration projects across Colorado, Wyoming, Illinois, New Mexico, and Texas – many completed in conjunction with local engineering firm S2O Design. With prestigious jobs like designing the 2012 London Olympics whitewater course and the Riversport Rapids whitewater centre in Oklahoma City in its back catalogue, S2O Design is the ideal partner for the Durango Whitewater Park project. “Whinnery has excelled at projects that require precise cutting of natural rock to ensure each piece can withstand fluctuating water currents,” said S20 Design founder and three-time Olympic kayaker Scott Shipley.
The project includes structural integrity of the rock, recreational performance, and high-quality aesthetics that improve the flow for recreationalists and fish navigation channels. “River restoration is a seasonal business,” said Whinnery Construction founder Stan Whinnery. “The summer is the optimum time because the water is low, but it also happens to be the peak of white water rafting and kayaking expeditions. The Spring provides a very small window of opportunity for us, when the weather warms and the water starts to flow.”
“We needed to modify the previously placed rocks to change the character of the waves at high flow,” said S20 Design project engineer Nathan Werner. “The existing rock structures in the park are concreted together, so there was no easy way to make even a minor adjustment.”
Breakers could not be used to crack and reset the rocks because the expansion grout creates small fractures within the rock that would shatter by the force of the breaker. Whinnery came up with the idea to use a rocksaw to score the rock, followed by a hydraulic hammer fitted on a skid steer, for a clean finish without shattering or cracking the bedrock.
Whinnery Construction and S2O Design opted to use Volvo construction equipment, including EC250D and EC300E excavators with proportional two pump flow, offering greater control for precise and fast operation. “We use a thumb attachment to stack the rocks,” said Whinnery. “When you have a 4t rock on the end of the boom, with a crewmember making sure it's sited correctly, you need a powerful, stable machine. Or, if you are using a rocksaw making a 6mm wide cut through 1m thick rock, the precision has to be perfect.