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Road construction with hard rock: a great solution

The temporary joint venture between Bulfaro SpA and Murano Srl Costruzioni Generali is in charge of a project assigned by ANAS SpA on the road S.S. 172 “dei Trulli”. Here the Group is using a Vermeer T1255III Terrain Leveler, a solution that excavates the ground with precision and extracts small sized material. In this way there is no need to crush the material onsite and no need for dumpers, hammers or explosives

  Road construction – Per la versione in Italiano:

The projects to improve road and motorway lines in Italy are more and more strategic. The aim is to complete every project rapidly and with solutions that can improve the movement of people and goods. In these cases, technology can help, too, with innovative solutions that can optimize the duration of every project.

An example of this kind is the road construction project developing on the road S.S. 172 “dei Trulli”, near Taranto. In this project, the partnership Bulfaro SpA and Murano Srl Costruzioni Generali, with the support of ANAS SpA, is using a Vermeer T1255III Terrain Leveler, a surface excavation miner for road construction.

This machine was chosen for many reasons: it reduces the need of different equipment on the jobsite, it fastens the work and it avoids the handling and processing of the excavated material.

The project consists of the surface leveling and widening from three to four lines of the road S.S. 172 “dei Trulli”, a 4,5 km length connection in the municipality of Martina Franca, in the surroundings of Taranto.

In addition to the project we are going to talk, the plan includes the construction of five roundabouts and the modernization of the access to Martina Franca.

The section of the project where the Terrain Leveler is involved consists of ground leveling and excavation of hard rock walls reaching 10-12 m of height and the reuse of the obtained small particle-size material for the road construction.

S.S. 172
1. The section of road S.S. 172 “dei Trulli” where the project is set

At the time we are writing this article, the group is operating on a 12 m height wall; here, 10 m have already been reached and the company is working on the remaining 2 m to reach the required level to build up the new road. 

The road construction site

In order to better understand this project, whose duration is of almost three years (precisely 1140 days according to the contract), we spoke with engineer Pietro Paolo Romita, Project Manager for ANAS SpA, with technical managers from the joint group, surveyor Fabio Guarino and engineer Ernesto Scarnati, and with the owners of the Companies, surveyor Giuseppe Bulfaro and surveyor Francesco Murano.

“Marketing Department of Vermeer Italia Srl”: “Engineer Romita, what are the characteristics of this project and how did you get the idea to choose Vermeer Terrain Leveler technology here?”.

“Pietro Paolo Romita”: “We are talking about a project of excavation in hard rock, except for the first layer which is of indented rock. Hard rock is quite a complex material to work with, and we had to find a solution that could allow us to excavate the material and crush it onsite, in order to avoid the transport to another site to process it and take it back to the jobsite. We wanted to use small size particles as foundation and then

build the road on it. The suggestion of the group Bulfaro SpA and Murano Srl Costruzioni Generali to use a Terrain Leveler has been a winning one. It has solved this big problem in an effective way, reducing the environmental impact”.

“MDV”:“Any observation about the equipment?”.

“PR”: “Terrain Leveler has been evaluated and approved by ANAS SpA in the testing field on the jobsite created by the joint venture. Here, we observed that the machine was able to excavate and at the same time reduce the size of the material at the required dimension, as stated in the tender specifications by ANAS SpA, and therefore we understood that we could use it without the need of other equipment.

This machine works very well in projects that require the leveling of hard rock surfaces. Usually, in Puglia region, when we have projects with hard rock the walls are vertical, while here, thanks to the Terrain Leveler, we were able to obtain what technically is called “3/2 slope”.

It is actually a great technology, which substitutes traditional excavating systems usually applied in road construction projects, such as hammers and explosives. It reduces costs, time, transfers among jobsites and, most importantly, environmental impact. I would recommend it for extensive projects like this one”.

2. The project consists of the widening from 3 to 4 lines of the road for a total length of 4,5 km. The presence of hard rock would have required the use of hammers and explosives without the Vermeer Terrain Leveler technology
“MDV”: “How do you use the excavated material?”.

“PR”: “We reuse all the excavated material, following ANAS SpA project, for the formation of embankments. Thanks to this system there is no need to transport the excavated material to another jobsite to process it because it has already a small sizing, perfect to reuse it in the project”.

“MDV”: “What is the approximate productivity of the machine?”.

“Fabio Guarino”: The T1255III has quite high capacities, and it is able to reach productions from 700 to 900 cubic meters per day, but the peculiar elements of this project – which is focused on broadening the road, so there are pauses and displacements of the unit according to the development of the jobsite with the necessary longitudinal and transverse slopes – has determined a slower pace.

At first, we had some concerns caused by the presence of hard, very compact rock blocks, but these doubts have been solved quite easily, also thanks to the constant technical assistance provided by Vermeer Italia Srl and its highly qualified team members”.

“MDV”: “Have you encountered any difficulties while working?”.

“Ernesto Scarnati”: “There have not been many difficulties. What we were worried about, from a geological point of view, was the hardness of the rock. Thanks to the cooperation with Vermeer Italia technicians, we have made all the necessary evaluations and we went on with the project, making all the suggested implementations.

For example, we have developed together a strategy aimed to improve the drum: we substituted some specific tools to adapt it to work with hard rock material. This is a versatility that has proven to be fundamental to proceed in the best way possible”.

“MDV”: “Mr Bulfaro, what is your Company focus?”.

“Giuseppe Bulfaro”: “Bulfaro SpA was founded in mid-Seventies thanks to my father. Antonio Bulfaro, who is still in charge of the Company. We have focused on public works. Our main contractor is ANAS SpA, therefore we mainly deal with infrastructural projects. Our Company focuses also in concrete and asphalt supply. This is mainly our core business”.

3. Terrain Leveler working on the jobsite, after the positive result of the equipment in the testing field created by the joint venture with the approval of ANAS SpA
“MDV”: “How did you meet Vermeer and its Terrain Leveler technology and what are your impressions?”.

“GB”: “We met Vermeer about ten years ago, while we were excavating close to Taranto, and we already had the chance to appreciate this technology. Thanks to that experience, we got in contact again to understand if it was possible to apply the Vermeer Terrain Leveler technology to this new project.

I think that our history with Vermeer products is very satisfactory. After a first period of adjustment, today we are fully satisfied of this technology because it has given us the chance to save time and to control the expenses in a way that would have not been possible with traditional excavating systems.

Especially in this jobsite, where we are using the Terrain Leveler, we were able to reduce the environmental impact: without this technology, we would have had to process the material with hammers, take it to a storage area and apply several steps to obtain the material we need: blasting, loading, etc..

However, in this way there is not the need to transport away the material because we are able to obtain small particle sized material, that we can use for embankments”.

“MDV”: “Mr Murano, would you like to tell us something about Murano Srl and its activity?”.

“Francesco Murano”: “My Company was founded in 1987 as an individual Company and became a limited liability Company inIt mainly deals with infrastructures with public Contractors.

We have specialized in big infrastructural projects, especially on road construction and motorways; we did important projects on the motorway A2 for the modernization of the line and the construction of the motorway Brescia-Bergamo-Milano (Bre.Be.Mi.). We deal with excavation, but we are also a general constructor.

We participate in many tenders and usually we follow the projects in all their parts. We chose to become specialists in projects where it is necessary to handle a lot of material because we are passionate about heavy equipment and big infrastructural projects. Before dealing with this project on the S.S. 172 we already managed similar ones, even if they were not as big as this one”.

Road construction
4. The Terrain Leveler T1255 on site
“MDV”: “Which are the main reasons why you have chosen Vermeer and the TL technology rather than competitors’ products?”.

“FM”: “We gathered information on the internet and we visit jobsites daily, so we decided to study this technology in a more detailed way. We understood it was good for our project, because it allows to reduce many steps in the processing of the material while keeping a high quality. Moreover, technical assistance and jobsite supports are very important.

Finally, after an accurate evaluation of the products available in the market, we noted that Vermeer machines have options that competitors’ equipment do not have. This tender had an important amount of rocky material that had to be excavated, and Terrain Leveler was the only machine capable to deal with this material, to reach the required productivity rate and to guarantee a high level of precision in the project”. 

Surface excavation machine

T1255III Terrain Leveler is versatile for different applications: mining, site preparation, ground leveling to build roads and soil correction projects. It allows the excavation of vertical walls, if necessary.

Among the main characteristics, it is worth it to point out the possibility to control the surface excavation machine thanks to the exclusive electronic control Vermeer TEC Plus, which communicates with all the control panels of the machine.

The cutting drum with “top-down” cutting system allows the cutter teeth to gain penetration in the soil without using the machine’s tractive effort to drive the teeth into the material. It creates a consistent-sized product without the need to use drilling and blasting systems.

Road construction
5. Terrain Leveler works very well in projects that require the leveling of hard rock surfaces

T1255 is available with two main configurations:

  • Single Side Direct Drive, with direct hydrostatic transmission. The drive motor is assembled directly to the cutting drum. This provides more control over the power and less wear;
  • Chain Drive, with chain transmission to the drum. This version usually is applied in projects where there is the need to excavate vertical walls.

For the activities in urban areas, Terrain Leveler is equipped with a dust suppression system. This contributes to reduce the formation of particles and dust.


This project is clearly a good example of how technical competence, innovative technology and experienced Companies can make the difference in projects of infrastructural implementation.

This project could be a starting point for new partnerships in ANAS SpA projects that require land leveling, fastening the jobsite and reducing the handling of the material. 


We would like to thank Surveyor Fabio Guarino (Bulfaro SpA), Engineer Ernesto Scarnati (Murano Srl Costruzioni Generali) and Engineer Pietro Paolo Romita (ANAS SpA) for their support in the creation of this article.

Road construction
6. Close up of the Terrain Leveler cutting drum

Technical data

  • Contracting Authority: Compartimento di Bari di ANAS SpA
  • Contractor and Executors of the works: R.T.I. Bulfaro SpA
  • (Coordinator Mandatory) and Murano Srl Costruzioni Generali (Principal)
  • Preliminary and final project: ANAS SpA
  • Executive project: R.T.I. Bulfaro SpA (Coordinator Mandatory), Murano Srl Costruzioni Generali (Principal), Cilento Ingegneria Srl and I.G.&P. Ingegneri Guadagnuolo & Partners Srl
  • Testing: in progress
  • Sole Project Manager: Eng. Massimiliano Fidenzi
  • Operations Management: Eng. Pietro Paolo Romita
  • Security Officer: Eng. Giuseppe Stolfo
  • Technical Manager at Bulfaro SpA: Geom. Antonio Bulfaro
  • Technical Manager at Murano Srl Costruzioni Generali: Geom. Francesco Murano
  • Site Manager: Geom. Fabio Guarino and Ing. Ernesto Scarnati
  • Project cost: 15.803.982,47 Euro
  • Duration of the works: 1.140 days
  • Submission date: July 2nd, 2018
  • Completion date: August 14th, 2021 

Bulfaro SpA: 40 years of great projects

Active in the market since mid-Seventies, Bulfaro SpA is an important Company working at a national level in infrastructural projects and civil construction, together with environmental engineering projects and renewable energy field.

Becoming a joint-stock Company in 2009, Bulfaro SpA has today more than 100 employees and a network made of specialists and partners with highly specialized technical knowhow, who are highly relevant on the path of expansion and innovation of the Company.

Specialization, competence and reliability, together with high quality standards, are the main distinctive aspects that make Bulfaro SpA known in the field. They also allow the Company to get a high reputation in the market and to keep growing and improving.

7. TEC Plus control panel of Terrain Leveler equipment

Today the Company is a key partner for all the Government agencies and market players who, throughout the years, have appreciated transparency, social responsibility, commitment towards the environment and capability to follow the need for an infrastructural development which is valuable for local communities.

Murano Srl Costruzioni Generali: civil and infrastructural construction since 1987

The Company was created in 1987 in Luzzi (CS), and its original name was “Impresa di Costruzioni LL PP Murano Geom. Francesco”. The field of activity is that of civil and industrial construction, road construction, waterline and gas line construction, excavation and hydraulic settlements.

Enrolled in 1988 in the National Register of construction, in 2003 Murano Srl has obtained the Cerificate of Quality System following the European regulation for the series UNI EN ISO 9001:2000.

In 2004 the Company becomes a limited liability Company under the actual name of Murano Srl Costruzioni Generali, with surveyor Francesco Murano as legal representative, sole administrator and technical director.

In 2017 Murano Srl has opened the new location in Liuzzi, Contrada San Vito, with a covered area of 2000 square meters for warehouse and workshop, and an open area of 10.000 square meters for equipment storage and working area, where there is also a mixing concrete plant for Company applications.

  Road construction – Per la versione in Italiano: