Rubber Tracks vs Steel Tracks: The Benefits of Both

There are plenty of benefits when it comes to rubber Trojan Tracks. Compared to steel tracks, rubber tracks work well on grass and dirt, but when the weather conditions are wet and muddy, steel tracks work better because they offer more traction.

Trojan rubber tracks

Let’s compare the two:

What’s the more affordable track?

Up front, rubber tracks cost much less, but in the long run, they have to be replaced more often if you’re using them quite a bit. Steel tracks are more durable, which means they last longer, but the cost up front is greater.

More Efficient?

For more efficient work, rubber tracks reduce vibration, which means they drive much faster than steel tracks. Also, when there is lower vibration, it leads to longer life. Less maintenance for your tracks will cut costs in the future.

Noise?

Rubber tracks are the winner in this one. Steel tracks create a loud clattering when they’re driven, but rubber tracks are quiet.

Trojan Tracks

Trojan Tracks is a leading supplier of rubber tracks, solid skid steer tires, and undercarriage parts for compact track loaders, mini-excavators, directional drills, and crawler dumpers.

Texas Contractors Equipment Inc. is a family owned business that offers Trojan Tracks. If you’re in need of parts and tracks from this manufacturer, we can get these to you as soon as possible, so that you can start working on your project immediately.

Texas Contractors Equipment Inc.

Here at Texas Contractors Equipment Inc., we have been supplying manufactured parts and top-notch ground engaging tools and product support to the construction industry. We help companies get what they need in an efficient and immediate way. For more than 47 years of family owned and operated experience, we can get the job done for you. Contact Texas Contractors Equipment Inc. at 713-776-1212 or 800-483-9266 today!

 

 

Houston Office Market Had a Strong Third Quarter

Houston Office Vacancy RatesHouston’s vacancy rate in the office market didn’t change much between the second and third quarters in 2019. It ticked up just 10 basis points between Q2 and Q3. That might lead you to believe that there isn’t any cause for celebration for those in the Houston market right now. However, there were a lot of other positive things that happened during Q3 to make it a strong quarter. Check out some of the aspects that you should be most excited about if you’re operating within the Houston office market space.

Positive net absorption

Net absorption is something that those who are interested in an office market always keep an eye on, and during Q3, the Houston office market experienced positive net absorption. While net absorption was in negative territory during Q2 to the tune of negative 700,000 square feet, it moved into positive territory during Q3 at 58,000 square feet. That wasn’t enough to move the overall vacancy rate too much, but it does represent a step in the right direction for the Houston office market.

Increased development and redevelopment

If you spend an hour or two driving around the Houston area, you’ll see plenty of development and redevelopment taking place. There are almost 2.5 million square feet of new office space under construction at the moment with a lot of it located in the Central Business District and Midtown. There are also redevelopment projects involving the Houston Center, the Allen Center, and the Total Plaza underway.

Improved job growth

The job growth rate in Houston continues to trend in the right direction. In the 12 months preceding August 2019, almost 82,000 jobs were added in the city. This represented a 2.7 percent jump in the total number of jobs. The unemployment rate in Houston also took a nosedive during the same time period, falling from 4.4 percent in August 2018 to 3.9 percent in August 2019. It suggests that the Houston office market should remain strong moving forward.

Is your company looking to get in on all the growth that’s happening in Houston? Texas Contractor Equipment can supply you with many of the products you’ll need to tackle new construction jobs in the city. Call us at 713-776-1212 to get your hands on the products that we have to offer.

Unified Transportation Program Will Bring Big Changes to Texas Roadways

Houston HighwaysThanks to its thriving job market, low tax rates and relatively inexpensive cost of living, Texas has been leading the nation in population growth since 2006. While this influx of new residents has been good news for many businesses in Texas, it has also put a great deal of stress on the state’s transportation infrastructure.

In areas such as the Permian Basin – where a recent oil boom has led to massive population growth – increased traffic volumes have been particularly pronounced. Roadways around major cities such as Dallas and Houston have struggled to keep up with the pace of growth as well.

With these concerns in mind, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently approved a 10-year, $77 billion plan for highway construction projects that’s designed to address some of the state’s most pressing transportation challenges.

Known as the 2020 Unified Transportation Program (UTP), this 326-page plan includes a wide range of proposed improvements, from upgraded traffic signals to bridge repairs, new pedestrian safety measures and more. According to TxDOT, most of the roadways that are slated for improvement are on the state’s 100 Most Congested Roadways list.

Road Construction“TxDOt is committed to reducing congestion and improving mobility and safety in Texas as evidenced by the agency’s largest 10-year plan to date,” said Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg Jr. in a statement. “We are allocating some $28 billion of this $77 billion to address our most critical congestion improvement needs in the state’s five major metropolitan areas and other congested areas around Texas.”

An additional $600 million has been allocated to fund transportation improvements in the Permian Basin. These improvements will focus on safety, congestion relief and pavement strengthening for roadways that experience high volumes of heavy truck traffic.

It’s important to note that the funding levels outlined in the UTP do not constitute a firm budget. Instead, they are based on forecasted transportation revenues over the next 10 years. This means that some projects outlined in the UTP may be subject to change based on fluctuations in the transportation market.

No matter what the future holds, the team at Texas Contractors Equipment Inc. will be here to provide road crews in our area with the rugged ground engaging tools they need to maintain and improve Texas’ transportation infrastructure. To learn more, stay tuned for the latest updates from our blog!

Gas Station Owners Are Preparing for an Electric Vehicle Future

Gas StationEnergy companies have been extracting crude oil from the Permian Basin at unprecedented rates in recent years, but an oil boom is the last thing on the minds of most gas station owners in our area. Instead, many gas stations are looking for creative new ways to stay relevant in a world where electric vehicles may soon become the norm.

Although gasoline demand in the U.S. has remained relatively steady for the past decade, electric vehicles could cut demand in half by 2035, according to the Boston Consulting Group in Dallas.

Meanwhile, many younger Americans are choosing to forego car ownership in favor of using ridesharing apps and public transportation to get around. While electric vehicles haven’t begun to put a dent in gasoline demand just yet, this unique confluence of market forces is already pushing gas stations to stay ahead of the curve.

“For these stores to survive, they need to focus on the mobility more broadly and what customers need while traveling beyond just fuel,” said Tony Portera, managing director of Boston Consulting Group in Dallas during a recent interview with the Houston Chronicle.

In addition to installing electric vehicle charging stations, gas station owners are working hard to stay competitive by offering new products and services as well. You can now find fresh produce and ready-made meal options in many gas stations, for example, while others are adding Amazon lockers to the storefronts in an effort to increase foot traffic.

In the early 1990’s, there were about 200,000 gas stations in America. Today, there are less than 150,000. While this downward trend is almost certain to continue, the electric vehicle revolution doesn’t necessarily spell doom for America’s gas stations. Instead, it means that business owners will have to figure out what the travelers of the future will need when gasoline is no longer a necessity.

Two-Story Crates Roll Through Houston en Route to South Korea

Oversize LoadIf you were driving on Houston-area roads early last week, you may have found that your ride was disrupted by an unusual caravan of trucks and state troopers escorting two massive wooden crates on flatbed trailers.

These crates – the largest of which measured 135 feet long, 27 feet high and 24 feet wide – were in the process of traveling 108 miles from Spring Branch, Texas to their destination at the Bayport Cruise Terminal. From there, the crates will embark on a month-long Journey to South Korea. Each crate contains components for a new mobile drilling platform which will be constructed upon arriving at the Korean Peninsula in September.

As you might imagine, the historically-huge heavy haul required a great deal of logistical planning and preparation.

During the journey, utility crews had to disconnect power lines and traffic signals at intersections to make room for the crates as they crawled closer to their destination. Towards the end of the caravan’s ride through Houston, a portion of I-45 had to be closed for several hours as well. The crew of more than 100 workers moved the crates primarily at night to avoid major traffic disruptions, but the trip was not entirely without incident. At one point in the haul, two motorcycle officers were injured when a suspected drunk driver blew through a blocked intersection and hit them.

Despite slowdowns and setbacks, the crates reportedly arrived safely at their destination in Bayport, Texas late last week. Now, they’ll be loaded onto a ship so they can continue on their trip around the world to South Korea.

Work Begins on First of Three Bridges Over Brays Bayou

Buffalo BayouIf you’re hoping to catch a home game at NRG Stadium this football season, you may need to build some extra time into your travel plans. Earlier this month, work began on a project to lengthen the Stella Link Bridge in southwest Houston, which serves as a major thoroughfare for drivers traveling in and out of NRG park.

This bridge expansion constitutes a major step forward in a plan to significantly reduce flooding along the Brays Bayou.

This plan, which was introduced in November of last year, involves widening 21 miles of Brays Bayou to provide additional flood protection to nearby neighborhoods. Once complete, Project Brays is expected to reduce the number of structures at risk of a 100-year flood from 16,800 to 1,800.

In the meantime, however, road crews will be expanding the Stella Link Bridge, Ardmore Bridge and Buffalo Speedway Bridge to facilitate the flow of stormwater in south central Harris County. Work on the Ardmore Bridge is slated to begin in august, and work on the Buffalo Speedway Bridge will begin when the Stella Link Bridge expansion is finished. The Stella Link expansion alone could take up to a year to complete.

In addition to causing travel delays for Texans fans, the bridge construction may also disrupt traffic to and from the Texas Medical Center. By staggering the three bridge expansions over the course of several months, the Harris County Flood Control District hopes to keep these traffic disruptions to a minimum. Currently, the northbound side of the Stella Link Bridge is closed and all traffic has been rerouted to the southbound side of the bridge.

Barbara Jordan Post Office to Become Sprawling Mixed-Use Hub

Houston at NightFor the past four years, the old Barbara Jordan Post Office has sat vacant on the northern end of Downtown Houston. Soon, however, the massive monument of modernist architecture will receive a new lease on life thanks to an ambitious adaptive-reuse project that’s being spearheaded by current property owner Lovett Commercial.

In late June, Lovett Commercial unveiled the highly-anticipated plans for POST Houston, a dramatic redesign of the 16-acre complex that will include workspace, restaurants, a hotel, retail space, a concert venue and a rooftop park and garden. Rather than demolish the old post office, architecture firm OMA New York will integrate its new design into the existing structure.

“A lot of these mixed-use projects are actually what would be considered adjacent-use projects, in the sense that the way that the different programs interact with each other is still distinct and disparate, whereas our vision for POST is about a melting pot of programs that cross-penetrate and influence each other,” said Lovett Commercial Project Manager Kirby Liu in a recent interview.

For example, project developers envision a future where restaurants in POST Houston will be able to source their fruits and vegetables directly from the complex’s rooftop garden, called Skylawn. OMA also plans to open up three sections of the building, creating new atriums with elaborate staircases that connect the various levels of POST Houston. Each of these atriums will be covered with a translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roofing material that insulates the space, acting like a huge air-filled Ziplock bag.

With such a diverse collection of attractions occupying more than 550,000 square feet of space, POST Houston is sure to become a new landmark in the city’s theater district. The first phase of the project is expected to be complete by summer of 2020.

Houston’s Grand Parkway Draws Interest From Developers

Houston HighwaysAfter more than two decades of construction, work on Houston’s Grand Parkway entered its final phase earlier this year. When the last section is completed in 2022, the 184-mile parkway will be the largest highway loop in the nation.

Since the idea for the parkway was first conceived in the 1960s, it has become one of the most ambitious infrastructure improvement projects ever undertaken in our region. And while the Grand Parkway was designed to accommodate increased traffic around the Greater Houston area, it could become a new corridor for residential and commercial development as well.

According to a recent article in the Houston Chronicle, a number of companies are purchasing property near the parkway with the intent of developing new homes and businesses along its route.

“The Grand Parkway has just been a tremendous catalyst,” said Kirk Laguarta, a broker for Land Advisors Organization in an interview. “all along the Grand Parkway as soon as it was announced on the west side, you saw the activity of sales occurring, of people going out and buying sites, especially where the interchanges are. Those are very critical.”

Laguarta is quick to point out, however, that although interest from developers is strong, some of their efforts have been slowed by new regulatory requirements that were implemented in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

“all of the requirements are changing, which I think everyone would agree, needs to occur, but it’s getting the approvals now that’s taking longer.”

Despite these hurdles, many developers are confident that with enough patience, building along the Grand Parkway will ultimately prove to be a worthwhile investment. Stay tuned – you won’t have to look far to find new developments cropping up along the Grand Parkway in the coming years.

Phase One of the Hardy Toll Road Connector Project Is Well Underway

Road ConstructionWhen the Hardy Toll Road was built in the 1980s, it was originally intended to extend into downtown Houston. As a result of budgetary restraints, however, the plans had to be revised and the 21-mile toll road’s southern terminus was moved to the Interstate 610 North Loop. Now, roughly three decades later, construction crews are working on the 3.6-mile extension that will finally bring the toll road south to US 59.

The first phase of the Hardy Toll Road Downtown Connector project began in 2014 and is expected to conclude in 2020.

This phase involves relocating the Houston Belt and Terminal rail lines, as well as constructing three grade separations at Collingsworth, Lorraine and Quitman streets. Relocation of the rail lines is already complete, and extensive excavation work is currently being conducted at the Lorraine grade separation. The three grade separations are ultimately designed to eliminate the need for vehicles on the toll road extension to interact with train traffic.

Once the grade separations are finished, the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) will begin paving the new four-lane stretch of the Hardy Toll Road. The extension is being funded entirely by revenue generated through the existing tolls, and it’s expected to offer significant benefits to commuters.

“It will provide a new connection directly into the Central Business district from north Houston, relieving existing highways of some volume,” said Matt Kainer, assistant director of maintenance and construction engineering of the HCTRA in an interview. “Once the project is complete, both drivers and pedestrians will have safer, faster access through the corridor.”

There’s still plenty of work to be done, however. The Hardy Toll Road Downtown Connector is currently slated for completion in the first quarter of 2023.

New Houston Office Building Will Be a Model of Sustainable Design

Houston SkylineThe 47-story office building that will occupy the former site of the Houston Chronicle will be more than just an attractive new addition to the city’s skyline; it will also be one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable buildings in the nation. Earlier this month, the developers of Texas Tower announced that the building has received Platinum pre-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system.

This constitutes the highest available rating for energy efficiency and sustainable design.

“Texas Tower will be an excellent example of how we can achieve a sustainable, high-performance building that, as a result, operates at a lower comparative cost over time, benefiting tenants, owners and the environment alike,” said Clayton Ulrich,  Senior Vice President of Corporate Operations at Hines.

The one-million-square foot tower on the 800 block of Texas Avenue will be equipped with a variety of innovative features designed to minimize the structure’s carbon footprint over time. These include a rainwater and condensate recovery system, LED light fixtures with daylight control systems, reflective roofing materials, high-efficiency chillers and electric-vehicle charging stations for the building’s occupants. Texas Tower will also include flexible, customizable workspaces to optimize the building’s floorplan.

Perhaps the most striking thing about Texas Tower, however, will be its appearance from street level. The tower will be oriented diagonally on its site, offering stunning views of its glass façade to passersby from all sides. With 33 percent of the building already leased to its future tenants, Texas Tower is currently slated to open in late 2021.