South Florida Excavation improves taxiways at Fort Myers airport
As Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers breaks records this year for the largest number of passengers traveling through the airport, South Florida Excavation is making the airport even safer for travelers, and surprisingly, for birds.
“There are 12 areas at the airport that fill with rain and hold water,” explained Russell Anderson, president of South Florida Excavation. “The water attracts fish, and then the fish attract birds that can get sucked up into the planes.”
South Florida Excavation is filling the taxiways in low lying areas, creating swales from 8’ to 12’ deep, and hammering out rock so the birds will not be able to sit on the slopes. They are steep slopes 2:1 with rip rap rock. In addition to protecting the safety of the plane, the swales keep the birds safe, too.
This is the company’s second job for the airport. Previously, they built taxiways and a new apron area. Filling the 12 areas at the airport will take approximately one year to complete.
Kelly Tractor provided the right equipment for the job.
South Florida Excavation is using a CAT 374FL Excavator with the hammer at an angle to provide the substantial break out force needed to break rock. Fuel efficiency is important, and the 374FL has proved to be extremely fuel efficient, especially when compared with its immense power. The machine runs well in hot Florida temperatures, while the air-conditioned cab keeps the operator comfortable. “One of our operators said the seats are the most comfortable he has ever sat in, and he’s been doing this for 23 years,” said Russell. “And we know it’s important to keep the operator comfortable, especially because we work 10-12 hour days.”
Russell has found the CAT 336FL Excavator with H160 Hydraulic Hammer to have much more force compared to others they have used. The company is also using the CAT 740B Articulated Haul Truck.
South Florida Excavation has been a Kelly Tractor customer for 12 years. “Kelly Tractor has a great team in place. They help us and make life easier by giving us the right machines. We’ve gotten four excavators, five including the hammer from Kelly Tractor. If they break down, Kelly is very, very responsive to our needs to get them up and running, normally within a few hours after our call. They maintain our machines, supply parts, service and mechanics to keep us up and running… over and above what we had expected.
Russell’s father, Drew Anderson, was in earth moving, mining, and building roads in England. As a young boy, Russell would accompany his father to work over the holidays. “I wanted to be a soccer player or a ground mover,” chuckled Russell. “And I wasn’t good at soccer.” The family run business was founded in the United States in the mid-2000s by Drew Anderson, and is run today by Russell and his brothers Rob and Tim. South Florida Excavation has grown to 78 employees.
“Without a great dealer like Kelly Tractor, South Florida Excavation would not be where we are today,” explained Russell. “We knock down trees, dig lakes, import fill, build roads and finish grading, and Kelly Tractor is always there making sure we have the right machine. Darryl Walters, our salesman, is a huge part in our renting of CAT machines. He’s a one stop shop himself. We bring our problems to Darryl and he does his very best to help us.”
9651 Kelly Tractor Drive
Fort Myers, Florida 33905