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Spring 2010

Working Underground in Manhattan

Steel tracks are the best option for demolition application beneath the Big Apple streets and skyscrapers


Gramercy Group employees replaced their rubber track undercarriage for a more durable steel track version at this demolition project in Manhattan, N.Y.

Bobcat® loaders and attachments owned by The Gramercy Group of Westbury, N.Y., are working on one of the largest mass transit construction projects in New York City. The Gramercy Group won the $39 million contract to demolish and reconfigure the 200,000-square-foot Madison Yard site at Grand Central Station for construction of the new Long Island Rail Road concourse. This is all part of the East Side Access project, which started in 2001 and is slated for completion in 2016.

Sitting 100 feet below street level in Manhattan, crews from the Gramercy Group operate Bobcat loaders for demolition and excavation. Since the jobsite is below one of the busiest intersections in New York, it can only be accessed by train on existing lines and tunnels, and that includes transporting equipment to the site.

Once on the jobsite, Superintendent Robert Kaires says the Bobcat T180, T250 and T300 loaders are outfitted with hydraulic breakers to demolish concrete, tracks, rails, ties, and the ballasts. He says their main function is to load the excavated material into boxcars, which are sent out to an off-site location for disposal and remediation. Operators attach grapples to the compact track loaders to pick up and carry the hard-to-handle materials and load them into the boxcars. Gramercy Group will remove an estimated 400,000 tons of concrete and steel by the time their portion of the project is complete in 2011.

Steel-track undercarriage

A T300 with steel-track undercarriage has proven invaluable on this project. "Quite honestly, this is probably the best thing Bobcat has come out with in a long time," Kaires says. "This demolition environment is unique, and the machines are constantly going over concrete rebar and structural steel."

The steel-track option for Bobcat compact track loaders was introduced in 2009, and is designed specifically for conditions like heavy demolition work, which can take a toll on rubber- or steel-reinforced rubber tracks. Kaires says the payback for the steel tracks is very quick when factoring in cost and downtime for track replacement. During a three-month time period, the Bobcat loaders with the rubber-track undercarriage showed significant wear because of the demolition debris. "The difference between rubber tracks and steel tracks is night and day," Kaires says. "You really need steel tracks in a demolition application like this."

Gramercy Group Principal Frank Amizicia echoes Kaires' comments. "In our industry, time is money, and that factors into our purchasing decisions," he says. "We have approximately 30 pieces of Bobcat equipment and they definitely perform better than all others."

Click here to learn more about the steel track undercarriage option for Bobcat compact track loaders.

Steel Tracks

Steel track benefits

  • Optional steel tracks provide durability in abrasive working conditions, such as demolition
  • Extra weight of the steel track system increases traction to provide more pushing force
  • Available on Bobcat T250, T300 and T320 compact track loaders