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Work piles up on highway project’s dirtiest job

Posted: Thursday, Jun 12th, 2014

Pile driver Mark Noah, above, operates the SoilMec 312 rotary drill, a $500,000 piece of modern boring technology positioned just 10 feet from a busy stream of traffic on Highway 101. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

LINCOLN CITY — In the hierarchy of roadwork, Mark Noah’s job may be the dirtiest.

Caked from hardhat to toe in a layer of dust and mud, Noah nimbly adjusted the levers and pedals of his 35-ton machine to nudge its tracked feet and seven-story mast into position.

Like surgeons poised over an operating table, the six-member work crew from Scheffler Northwest guided a 5,000-pound bit — the business end of the giant drilling contraption — between a fragile row of engineer tapes.

“I love this job,” shouted Noah over the growl of a 220-horsepower diesel engine. “Every hole’s different.”

Construction of the $19 million Nelscott Highway Improvement Project in Lincoln City is underway, and the most apparent sign of progress is the boring endeavor that towers over the stream of nearby traffic on Highway 101.

For the complete article see the 06-13-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-13-2014 paper.

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