Hawaii’s New Heavy-weights
New drills, excavators and dozers stand ready for civil work in 2023

Hawaii builders are already prepping for 2023, when more money will pour into heavy civil work via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the U.S. Department of Defense. And they are deciding if their fleets and Hawaii’s new machines are ready for the challenges ahead.

Kelikai Inc.  

Damien Enright, Kelikai president, says his four large pile rigs, two cranes, seven micropile/tieback rigs, two Schwing concrete pumps and large drilling, tooling, equipment and trucking fleet will soon tackle subcontracting work that includes “large probe and grout projects at Honouliuli with Hawaiian Dredging and at the Dog Walk Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam with Nan Inc. Micropile installations with Nan Inc. for HART’s Utility phase, as well as outer island augercast pile installations and bridge grouting work. For Kelikai, it is looking like a busy upcoming year in both the public and private sectors.”

Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. Inc. 

Christopher Castell, Hawaiian Dredging project engineer, says the contractor has one of Hawaii’s most versatile fleets of drills, cranes and specialty equipment. “We handle everything from small-diameter micro-pile drilling within tight spaces all the way to 10-foot-diameter drilled shaft foundations and all sizes in between.” Live data from onboard computers, he says, equips Hawaiian Dredging’s experienced project teams to deliver “quality foundation structures that meet the needs of our clients, including a number of high-rises and buildings in the metro Honolulu area, government agencies, private entities as well as general contractors throughout the state.”

Hawaiian Crane & Rigging Ltd.

Kerwin Chong, HCR vice president, says a recent joint venture with Pacific Pile & Crane Inc. on Maui’s Kaheawa Wind Farm project called for “servicing the wind turbines, which entailed taking down the entire rotor assembly and changing out the blades, bearings and replacing scheduled parts of the generator and nacelles. HCR barged our Manitowoc 999, 275 US-ton crawler crane, and our Grove 80 US-ton hydraulic crane, from Honolulu to Maui and mobilized the Manitowoc 999 with 250 feet of main boom to the site.” 

Doc Bailey Cranes & Equipment Inc.

Doc Bailey says his namesake company is meeting Hawaii’s current high demand for reach forklifts and all-terrain cranes, and in 2023 will offer Merlo reach forklifts and Link-Belt Rough Terrain cranes.

Hawthorne Cat

At Maui’s solid-rock Kihei High School job site, Goodfellow Bros. has been using D4 through D9 Cat dozers and 938 through 972 Cat loaders, says Ian Strods, Goodfellow project engineer. All are Trimble GPS-equipped.

Cat’s D6 XE electric-drive dozer, Strods says, “is an extremely versatile machine with great power that comes in handy when encountering rock in the cut areas, yet nimble enough to assist in placing and grading roadways or building pads.”

Cat power is also on display at Nan Inc.’s 27-acre Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant project. Most excavation of the site’s 400,000 cubic yards of hard coral and trenching, says Mitchell Mizokami, Nan Inc. project manager, was accomplished with its bigger equipment, such as Cat’s D11N dozer and 374D excavator.

Chris Giannaris, Hawthorne Cat corporate marketing and strategy manager, says Cat’s new Next Generation dozers, such as the D2, bring many ownership benefits: “Grade with 3D and Slope Assist helps operators achieve the best-quality grading results; new technologies make the operation easier and more efficient. Ownership costs are up to 10% lower with improved fuel efficiency, easier maintenance and longer undercarriage life.” New models also boast up to 15% more performance.

Cat’s Next Generation mini excavators, he says, offer operator comfort with sealed and pressurized cabs, suspension seats, A/C and adjustable wrist rests. “Performance is increased by nearly 20% with improvements in lift, swing, travel and multifunction. Our industry-exclusive Stick Steer Travel mode is a game changer.” Popular models are the 308 and the new 306.

Allied Machinery Corp.: Case, Takeuchi

Alex Feyerisen, Allied Machinery vice president, says Allied’s exciting new Hawaii offerings include the new Case E Series excavator line, which features “an all-new CX365E SR, a 36-ton minimum tail-swing model.” 

Case has also introduced the “compact dozer loader”—a new product category. The new DL550 Minotaur, Feyerisen says, has “the agility, functionality and versatile range of attachments for a traditional track loader while adding the power, six-way blade and 3D control capabilities of a traditional dozer.” 

He says the TB335 is “Takeuchi’s first minimum tail-swing offering in the 3.5-ton range, which has been one of the most requested sizes over the past few years.”

Papé Machinery: John Deere, Wirtgen, Hamm, Kleemann, Vogele, Klein

Dan Christenson, Papé Machinery Sales Manager – Hawaii Region, says “excavators of all sizes are still in high demand this year. We are also excited to compete in the large dozer market with our John Deere 1050K crawler dozer.” 

The dealer’s complete Wirtgen product line, he says, includes “the new Wirtgen cold-milling machines featuring ‘Mill Assist’ that continually adjusts for optimum performance” and slipform pavers. Also available are Hamm rollers, Kleemann crushers, Vogele pavers and screeds, and Klein portable water tanks and trucks to cover the “entire road-building sector from the quarry to paved roads.” 

Sunbelt Rentals Inc.

James Allison, Sunbelt Rentals district manager – Hawaii, says Sunbelt’s aerial man lifts have been “in very high demand this year. Sunbelt Rentals has the largest and newest fleet of aerial man lifts in Hawaii, and we also carry the tallest lift in the state, a 185-foot man lift. Also, our telehandler forklifts are always in very high demand.”

Will Hawaii builders need big new machines in 2023? Chong cites Paul Feinburg in the UCLA Anderson Forecast, who expects “a substantial increase in federal defense spending over the course of the next two years, with this defense spending boosting domestic economic output.”

Chong says: “HCR may be looking to expand our fleet [of cranes] next year to be in a position to best serve our customers in specific sectors of the market.” 


The mast of Kelikai’s new Bauer BG33H drill rig is designed for quick mobilization.

PHOTO by: Greg Yamamoto

Heavy Equipment Safety Check

Good safety practices protect a project’s most valuable assets—its workers. Kevin Crawford, an Atlas Insurance Agency risk consultant, says a reduction in frequency and severity of work comp claims can also correlate to lower insurance premiums—a good idea now that a key factor in determining premiums has increased by 8.2%.

Crawford says heavy equipment operators should:


Seat belts increase the odds of surviving a crash or rollover. 


Daily walk-arounds will reveal obvious signs of damage. Record inspections and properly tag equipment for service.


Manufacturers’ user manuals cover machine operations, safety procedures and other checklists. OSHA requires operators to read and understand equipment-related information.

Sand Island’s Record-Breaking Rig

Do big jobs wrap sooner with state-of-the-art rigs? Ask Kelikai Inc. 

The Sand Island Waste Water Treatment Plant Phase 1 subcontractor has already broken two records for augercast piles (ACIP piles) installation. 

Using a Bauer MC128 Crane and Lead rig, Kelikai on July 13 installed 27 permanent foundation piles, breaking the state’s previous record for ACIP piles installed in a single shift. About a month later, Kelikai broke its own record by installing 30 piles. 

Damien Enright, Kelikai president, is quick to point out that the Bauer’s stellar performance is also a function of a hardworking and efficient crew focused on safe production. Everything else—such as ideal soil conditions and concrete service—needs to fall into place, too. “This type of production is not a normal occurrence,” he says, “but exciting to be able to obtain.”

It also demonstrates that Sand Island’s 2,580 piles are no match for the Bauer MC128—”top of line when it comes to drilling ACIP piles,” Enright says. “It is the only rig like it in the world, and allows for power and stability at very deep drilling depths.”

He says Sand Island is likely one of Hawaii’s largest augercast pile installation projects to date. Kelikai is also installing foundations for a large Oahu warehouse requiring 1,024 piles. 

Another Kelikai drill rig arrived in Hawaii Oct. 6—a brand-new Bauer BG33H. “It came straight from Germany where it was manufactured and outfitted with state-of-the-art tooling and equipment, and will be immediately put to work drilling caissons/drilled shafts and augercast piles,” Enright says. The BG33 mast, designed for quick mobilization, allows Kelikai to start drilling “in a matter of hours instead of days. This helps get production started sooner, and helps general contractors get out of the ground quicker, which is always the push.”

A Casagrande B300 drill rig, slightly used, also arrived a few weeks ago. Enright says the rig’s up-to-date “G&H” pile monitoring software system takes in comprehensive, accurate data for every drilled pile. The rig also lifts its counterweights off the drill body for easy assembly and disassembly without extra service cranes.

Enright sent the rig to a project straight from the dock: “It immediately started drilling and beating the project schedule and targeted production rates due to the power of its drill head.”

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