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North Carolina

After years of planning, environmental studies and even lawsuits, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is relieved to see the start of a widening project on Interstate 26 between Hendersonville and Asheville. "The project has been on the books 15 years, and people have been begging for it even longer," said NCDOT Communications Officer David Uchiyama.

Its proper name is the North Carolina Railroad Overpass (NCRR) or the Gregson Street Bridge, but locals in Durham just called it the "can opener," a moniker that grew from its impact on trucks and RVs too tall to fit beneath the 11-ft., 8-inch structure.

By working at Carolina Cat as a territory sales representative, Chelsea Parker has had the professional good fortune of not having to stray too far from her home base of Swannanoa, N.C. The small western community with a population of roughly 5,000 residents is part of the greater Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which just so happens to be the territory that Parker covers for the Caterpillar equipment dealer.

On Nov. 8, Bobcat of Monroe (N.C.) held an open house and customer appreciation event that was attended by more than 200 area contractors. A hearty barbeque lunch was served along with all the fixings, plus Coke and cookies. The event included a Bobcat track loader obstacle course challenge, where operators maneuvered the machine through a tight course.

On Nov. 13, Topcon Positioning Systems Inc. held a Field Day event at Benchmark Tool & Supply's Raleigh, N.C., branch location. The main purpose of the gathering was for customers to learn about Topcon's new X-53x automatic excavator system from the experts themselves.

Some of the more intense snowstorms and icefalls in decades have blasted the United States over the last few winters. Changes in the climate are often cited as the reason for today's extreme winter weather and has touched off a hot debate among scientists, politicians and average Americans.

The Iron Auction Group rolled into Statesville, N.C., on Oct. 24th and made quick work of auctioning off a nice selection of construction equipment, trucks, trailers and miscellaneous support equipment. A terrific turnout of onsite registered bidders and online bidding made for another successful Iron Auction Group sale.

You likely never knew it, but chances are you've already seen the fruits of Mirimichi Green's line of products on television or even while strolling the grounds of the "Happiest Place on Earth." Based in Wilmington, N.C., Mirimichi Green produces soil amendments, composts and top-end dressing for consumers as large as Major League Baseball, the PGA and Disney World, among others.

Carolina Cat hosted a three-day, hands-on event in Cherokee, N.C., from Oct. 23 to 25. Days one and two were for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians; the third day was for local contractors and other customers. About 75 companies came out to test the latest in Cat equipment over the event's three days.

Gregory Poole Equipment Company held a product demonstration on Oct. 2 featuring the Caterpillar Next Generation dozers, excavators, compact track loaders and skid steer loaders at Caterpillar's Clayton, N.C., facility. Guests were able to operate the Next Generation Cat equipment, which included the Cat D6 and D6 electric-drive dozers; Cat 320 and 320 GC excavators; Cat mini-excavators with new stick steer and the Cat compact loaders with Trimble Earthworks Go! The Next Generation of Cat excavators are built to increase operating efficiency, lower fuel and maintenance costs and improve operator comfort with unique combinations of purpose-built features designed to achieve productivity and cost targets.

Three machines, 36 wheels, 20 stops, 15 dealers. That's what you'll find on the semi-national "In the Trenches Tour" from Caterpillar. Launching at the end of July, the tour arrived at its tenth stop on Sept. 27 to join in on the race weekend action at Charlotte Motor Speedway.