June 01, 2017
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Hardy Hold Drilling Goes Big with Two Massive Bridge and Infrastructure Projects
Everything is bigger in Texas. And for Hardy Hole Drilling of El Paso, going big is the name of the game. The company is the drilling contractor on two infrastructure projects in El Paso valued at around $1 billion. The company drills the foundations for bridges using massive machines capable of boring 10-foot diameter holes up to 150-feet deep.
The drilling machines tower above the company’s John Deere skid steers and compact excavators, which clean up material around the holes. “The ground changes with every hole we drill,” says company owner Levi Hardy. “You never know what you’re going to get — you might hit water or trash. It’s a new adventure every day.
John Deere compact machines have a huge impact on our operation.
“Our big drills are very important, but we have to have that support equipment. Without our compact excavators and skid steers, we can’t get the job done. John Deere compact machines have a huge impact on our operation.”
KNOWING THE DRILL
In addition to drilling foundations for bridges, Hardy Hole Drilling also works on cell phone towers, power plant substations, signage, and lighting. “Anything that you see sticking out of the ground that requires a pole or tower, we’re probably a part of it — elevator shafts, parking garages, just about anything,” says Hardy.
It can take from six up to 24 hours to drill one hole, depending on the ground. The holes have a one-inch tolerance, so they have to be both straight and in the right place. Hardy explains, “It’s all about precision.”
Deere skid steers and compact excavators clear the way for the big drilling machines so they can move on to the next hole, an important job. “If the drill’s not turning, then we’re not earning,” says operator Chad Wilcox, who has been with Hardy Hole Drilling for 15 years.
ACE IN THE HOLE
Hardy’s father started the business in 1967 with a truck and a 10-foot digger. He was the lone employee, digging holes for utility poles and signs for parking lots and highways.
Today the company is the largest drilling company within a 500-mile radius of El Paso, employing 67 people and running over 100 pieces of equipment, including its John Deere skid steers and compact excavators.
The company owns a 332G, which boasts 100 gross hp, 3,600 pounds of rated operating capacity, and 40-percent more breakout force, greater reach, and increased hydraulic flow compared to the previous model. “It’s a beast,” says Wilcox. “Visibility is outstanding. The sightlines are terrific, and on these jobsites, there are people and machinery moving left and right. It makes a world of difference in terms of safety.
“The cab is spacious and comfortable, even in these extreme temperatures. The heat in El Paso is very hard on machines, but the 332G is very reliable.”
Deere compacts work in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. The temperature can exceed 100 degrees during the summer for 20 days straight. And then when it does rain, it’s like a monsoon.
“We ask a lot out of the machines, often working 12-hour days,” says Hardy. “They have to be dependable because we can’t have 15 crewmembers standing around waiting for equipment if it breaks down. Our John Deere machines have been very reliable for us. They hardly ever break down.”
If Hardy Hole Drilling has any problems, its local John Deere dealer, 4Rivers Equipment, takes care of it immediately. “They’re just a phone call away,” says Hardy. “We’ve used other suppliers and didn’t feel their service and parts department kept up with our needs. That’s why we exclusively use John Deere compact machines.”