Five years into the Interstate Highway program, bridge contractors faced a number of limitations to place and finish decks: Equipment and industry practice confined them to paving only the distance between abutment and the first pier. Placement and finishing operations were longitudinal, yielding an uneven ride in finished decks stemming from post-pour transfer deflection.
An upstart company, headed by Rapid City, S.D., contractor “Tex” Bidwell, proposed paving decks transversely. In 1961, he and Canton, S.D., machine shop operator Murray Rowe developed a paver with oscillating strike-off pan riding along a 48-in.-deep truss frame. Initial models increased deck-paving widths up to 60 ft., as dictated by the length of electrical cords powering the oscillating pan, augers and machine gears.
Within a few years, demand for the transverse pavers grew toward a point of taxing their proprietors’ production capacity, leading to a 1969 sale of the business to CMI Corp., now Terex Roadbuilding.
As bridge widths expanded in the early 1970s, Bid-Well pavers transitioned from electric to hydraulic operation, eliminating the power cord and expanding machines’ capabilities beyond 120 ft. Concurrently, the floating strike-off pan was replaced by a single roller strike-off, which was marked by a transition to BR Series pavers. A second roller was eventually added, improving paving quality and speed.
In the mid-1980s, Bid-Well developed the Rota-Vibe system, delivering up to 5,000 vpm over the rollers’ entire length to reconsolidate the top 2.5 in. of concrete, ensuring a denser and more uniformly consolidated deck surface. Other advancements included a 5-in. hydraulic carriage lift, allowing the paving unit to be raised to quickly pass over obstacles and then automatically reset to established grade; swing leg design, which allows the machine to be offset for zero-clearance paving; fogging system with nozzles that atomize the water to create a true, light fog; and, skew bar kit that allows the paving carriage to be offset, so it hits the same crown points when the machine is paving at the skew angle.
The Bid-Well concept evolved beyond bridge deck equipment. In addition to today’s 4800 paver, which uses the same 48-in. truss depth as the original model, Terex Bid-Well offers 3600 and 2450 pavers, featuring 36-in. and 24-in. truss depths; both models suit customers paving decks under 100 ft. wide. Using the foundation of the original 48-in. truss frame depth, the 7000 paver was developed to place canal and slope slabs.
Terex Corp. acquired CMI in 2001, and Terex Bid-Well became part of the Terex Roadbuilding group. Its latest, major capital investment is a Canton, S.D., campus to consolidate production under one new roof (Briefs, page 23).