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A Low-Tech Approach to Moving Dirt

When the downtown Atlanta expressway was envisioned, the interchange below the State Capitol where the north-south and east-west highways came together was referred to as the Downtown Connector. Henry Newton Co. built this elaborate series of interchanges, which required the relocation of Washington Street, widening of Clark Street, raising of Capitol Avenue, and construction of five bridges.

Harry D. Gregory contracted for the grading and excavation, and he took an unusual approach to the job, very much unlike MacDougald’s high-tech methods. Gregory chose not to use any major earthmoving equipment, such as pushers or scrapers. Instead, he moved all the dirt with three 977 Caterpillar Traxcavator front-end loaders, including one with a side dump bucket, and dozens of dump trucks. Twelve dump trucks handled short hauls of 100 to 500 feet, and forty more trucks handled long hauls of about 1,500 feet.

Gregory moved 7,000 cubic yards of dirt per day with his system—282,400 cubic yards over the entire project. He told Dixie Contractor magazine, “Everybody tells me I’m crazy to move dirt this way, but so far no one has been able to show me a cheaper or more efficient way to move dirt.”

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Post-War Boom 1948 - 1959
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