Their purpose was to demonstrate their new, half-million dollar pavement milling machine to city and county street maintenance crews.
The city’s director of public works, Albert Bridge, said he had been contacted by the company and asked if he could arrange a demonstration. So Bridge suggested that the company use Cook Road for the event. The pavement on the stretch of Cook Road from the entrance of the Beeville Animal Shelter to South Tyler Street needed to be resurfaced.
First thing that Tuesday morning, the company’s owner, Jim Anderson, and a crew unloaded the brand new machine and got it ready to use for the first-ever test drive.
Anderson’s territory manager, Richard Stacener, said the company realizes that most cities and counties in South Texas cannot afford or justify the purchase of a $500,000 machine. But with the wear and tear on city streets and county roads these days caused by heavy trucks working in the Eagle Ford Shale oil fields, local governments need milling machines to make repairs.
“We offer this machine to lease,” he said. “It’s made in Germany,” Stacener added, saying it is smaller and easier to operate than some of the monster milling machines used by the big street contracting companies.
Because cities and counties cannot afford to hire the big contractors to do the work, Anderson’s leasing program will give the local street maintenance crews a chance to do that kind of work themselves.
“The guy running that machine has never operated one before,” Anderson said as one of his employees took the controls.
Anderson employee John Hood was the first one to crank up the BOMAG and start eating pavement. Bridge asked him to grind about an inch and a half from the pavement.
At first, the machine was biting into the caliche base, so Hood raised the grinding bits some.
Stracener said the benefit of leasing the machine is that a street can be milled and resurfaced, sometimes all in the same day. He predicted that the machine could have the stretch of Cook Road ripped up in three to four hours.
Bridge already had the replacement paving material stacked up near the street. He said the milled pavement could be used again later.
Bridge said that, because there was some caliche in the ground-up pavement, it would be perfect to use on driveways and smaller areas that do not get a lot of heavy traffic.
The superintendent said he would offer most of the material to the county’s road and bridge department, because those crews are often doing work on areas where rural driveways connect to county roads.
“We really could’ve used that machine on Adams Street,” Bridge said. Increased traffic on North Adams created by the opening of the Walmart Supercenter complex prompted the city to spend substantial funds upgrading the pavement on North Adams.
But a project like that would have to be timed to take place while school is out for the summer. To try repaving that street now that school has started would create too much disruption, Bridge said.
He did not know when and if the city would request the funds to lease the milling machine. He planned to present a report to the City Council on the machine later.
The superintendent said it would be a good idea for the city and county to come up with a list of projects for a machine like that and pay the lease cost together.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.