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Greenfield Road reconstruction features an important retaining wall

Screen-Shot-2015-10-23-at-4.12.44-PM1Baltazar Contractors, Inc., of Ludlow, MA is involved in a $5.2 million roadway project that consists of reconstructing slightly less than two miles of Greenfield Road in Montague, MA. Soil conditions in that area are tough. Wet running sand overlaying wet clay on top of extremely hard re-cemented silica-rich shale, makes supervisor, Robert Macauley’s project a challenging one. Nevertheless, the job has gone well and it is on schedule, according to Macauley.

On portions of the job, despite drought-like conditions, wet running sand mixed with silt and clay, slumped off the slopes. On the flat sections, depending on the amount of ground water, Baltazar’s crew installed ABS corrugated sub-drain ranging from 8-inchs to 18-inches in diameter. Baltazar’s crew bedded the sub-drain with crushed trap rock.

On the hill where the bedrock was thought to be basalt, the rock formation had stymied efforts by the company’s excavator held hydraulic hammer, which to use huge boulders blasted from the bedrock onsite as their primary source of material for the wall. They also use additional boulders from Mitchell’s quarry in Northfield, MA. The wall is backed up with gravel borow with 4-inch ABS weep pipes installed through the wall to carry off any ground water that accumulates. A sub-drain at the base of the wall, at the road’s edge, collects ground water along with the water from the weep pipes.

Owner Gus Varandas, a real hands-on CEO, was at the controls of the company’s Volvo EW170 Excavator hoisting boulders into place on wall. It will be some 22-feet high in places. As we concluded our time at the jobsite, we watched Guss’ son, Richy, darting about the project like a water bug, as he operated a JD 320 skid steer loader to do some important grading while supplying sand and gravel for the wall. Gus’s son Bruno said his family is proud of how nice the concrete cap and finished portions of the wall appear. It is assuring to know that pride in workmanship still exists. For more information on Baltazar Contractors, Inc. visit their website at or give them a call at 413-583-6160. Varandas and Sons Contractors can be reached at 413-589-8773.


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