All major cities look for productive, more cost-efficient ways to maintain both major highways and neighborhood streets. Removing and replacing asphalt pavement typically requires the use of a conventional excavator, skid steer loader, saw and even a small paver. But one city in the Carolinas - which is prohibited from allowing its name to be used in job stories - continues to handle many of its asphalt repair functions with the use of only a Gradall XL 4100 IV excavator and a small vibratory roller.
Precise boom versatility makes a huge productivity difference during one road repair job in a residential neighborhood. Without the need for a saw, the Gradall operator carefully tilts the 30-inch excavating bucket, using a tooth to carve a fine line down the center of the street and along a curving curb strip, carefully stripping away about four inches of aging asphalt surface covering half the width of the roadway.
Because the entire boom tilts - rather than just the boom-end attachment - there is no loss of bucket forces and the asphalt is easily removed and quickly loaded into a truck. Gradall excavators in this fleet also are equipped with 360-degree tilt capability and buckets with a tooth on the bottom, which can be used to break up larger pieces of asphalt.
"We use Gradalls for this type of work every day," said James, who has been a Gradall operator for about eight years. "I really appreciate the automatic transmission on the Series IV machines, because we always take them back to the equipment yard at night, and then out to another job the next day." Maximum speed of 60 mph makes the over-the-road capability an even greater advantage, while remote repositioning from the upper cab is useful when working over the length of a road repair project.
After removing the pieces of asphalt, the XL 4100 IV smoothes out the surface which is then compacted by a vibratory roller. Next, mounds of hot asphalt are poured onto the compacted surface.
The XL 4100 IV, using the same excavating bucket, picks up and spreads the asphalt evenly over the excavated area using the machine's bucket shake mode for even distribution, followed by another compaction using the roller.
"The boom movements let me make those fine cuts and clean up loose pieces of pavement and soil along the edges," said James. "That also minimizes our need for hand work with shovels and brooms." The result is the ability to repair streets faster and with only two pieces of equipment, making taxpayers the winners at the end of the day.
For more information about Gradall excavators call (800) 445-4752.