Lacroix Equals Action


A 2 a.m. emergency call is not unusual for the owner of Lacroix Construction. In fact, it became a way of life 26 years ago.
That is when the company won the bid to clear the right-of-way, day or night, for rail-repair work in northern Ontario.

“My father, Charles Lacroix, started the business, based on the mining boom right in our town of Sudbury, Ontario,” says Murray Lacroix. “We were dirt-moving contractors for the mine. I am fortunate to be able to pass a good company on to my son, now a third-generation Lacroix owner, with a crew of great men, a fleet of good equipment, and an outstanding legacy.”

Northern Ontario has many riches. In the shadow of Toronto’s huge manufacturing base, the area north is often perceived as a mysterious land of unknown potential. In reality, the northern province is bustling with new mine efforts, new roads, growing communities, and busy railroad activity.

“I started up with my dad in 1967,” says Murray Lacroix. “He set me up to be a laborer first, then an equipment operator. Even though Sudbury is the hub of activity for most of the region, it’s a relatively small community. So, many of our company’s ongoing duties were whatever the town needed. That meant clearing parking lots from snow day and night, and digging basements or drainage in the summer.”

“As I took over management of the company, that concern about taking care of needs, regardless of the hour, stuck. And that attitude has served us well. Today, the 2 a.m. call is not unusual for us. And when it does, our first response is on its way within the hour anywhere in Ontario.”

The company continues to provide multiple maintenance and damage-control services to both railroads over a large area of Ontario. “There are two sides to the effort. We have crews and equipment designated to provide daily maintenance, ditching, and culverts as well as snow removal to the track. Then, there’s the more dramatic – the call for assistance for washouts and derailments.”

And that can be demanding as well as a logistics challenge. Lacroix Construction is called to help clear and repair the area. They initially rally the team and assemble the equipment, and then get to the site as soon as possible. The project manager usually flies or drives to the nearest point and works his way in, while the equipment is railed to the site with the company’s Hytracker – a self-powered lowboy truck/trailer package that allows a vehicle to be driven onto the trailer bed and run down the track.

Demolition explosion
The planning and experience required for the railroads’ remote maintenance and demolition efforts has led to additional opportunities within Sudbury and other northern Ontario townships.

“We have the expertise and the equipment,” says Mr. Lacroix, “and Northern Ontario is changing. Tearing down what is now obsolete gives an opportunity for something new to go up in a very good location.”

At the time this article was written, the company was involved in tearing down an obsolete school building, clearing the final trace of toxins, and then paving the area for a school-bus-loading area, complementing an earlier effort to help in the construction of a new school building.

A new discovery
For decades, Northern Ontario has been a well-known, major source of mineral deposits. Sudbury became the hottest nickel-mining property in the world for a while during the 1960s, and underground nickel mining, right inside the township of Sudbury, continues without decline.

Gold as well as oil and gas, uranium, and rare minerals are also found in the northern areas of the province.

But the new discovery that has everyone buzzing is diamonds! Lots and lots of diamonds.

All this natural-resource activity easily translates into a huge need for exploration companies as well as the established mines to use. And there is the need for whatever is mined to be shipped out.

Sudbury is an outstanding community full of processing plants, equipment providers, schools, and community stores. Here both new and old housing communities easily coexist.

The company has a fleet of excavators with thumbs to do most of the heavy demolition work after they have sublet the first-removal efforts. They provide the trucking and disposal of all materials.

Site prep and utility work
“We started as dirt contractors, and that means that we’re simply equipment guys,” continues Mr. Lacroix. “If we can create something or clean a problem up with an excavator, a dozer, a wheel loader, or a dump truck, we can make you happy.”

The company pursues utility-work projects and aggressively uses their lightning-fast response to make quick work of each project.

Why Hitachi?
“I’ve got to say, for years I was pretty solid with another brand,” says Murray Lacroix. “But Moe, the Wajax Equipment salesman here in Sudbury, kept talking to me about Hitachi. So finally I tried one, and I’ve never gone back to the other colors.”

“Hitachi is a good machine that has never let us down. We go into some pretty rough country for the railroads, so you’ve got to have a very good machine – and Hitachi has served us well. Plus Wajax has been a great dealer. So, we’ve had good success with Wajax and the Hitachi machines.”

Source: Hitachi Construction Americas

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