Marsh Buggy – Big, Small and Sustainable

When ATC planned its project to install transmission lines over the Yahara River wetlands in Madison, WI it knew that traditional access methods wouldn’t work well – mat road systems would cost millions – and other options literally might sink in the marsh. So ATC looked at similar projects for sustainable solutions in an environmentally fragile area – and found the marsh buggy. Smaller projects had used the marsh buggy – but would it scale for this larger project?

Marsh buggy with trackhoe

Marsh buggy with trackhoe

Marsh Buggies use a very wide track system to spread their load over a larger surface, reducing pressure on the soil. After exploring a transmission line foundation/structure that would work, ATC determined a marsh buggy could be built to support the required 80,000-pound trackhoe, while staying on top of the marsh and reducing soil pressure to less than one and one-half pounds per square inch. That’s less than the pressure of a human foot. This custom marsh buggy was three times the size of standard buggies, stretching out to a size of 40 feet – and crucially, something that ATC’s contractor would build. The custom marsh buggy, along with two standard marsh buggies and an air crane for setting structures, eliminated the large loadings of conventional construction methods and their heavier impact. Even better, a rental option for the marsh buggies made them very cost-effective.

Using marsh buggies as part of a more sustainable transmission line installation eliminated about $4 million in construction matting costs (half of the total construction costs in the Yahara wetlands), decreased construction time and minimized environmental impacts. That’s a big business deal – with a small and sustainable environmental impact!

[ATC is a 2013 Sponsor of Cool Choices Employee Engagement Games. For more information on sponsorship opportunities contact us at info@coolchoicesnetwork.org.]

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