Maintaining highways and the drainage ditches alongside them is a major task for the Maine Department of Transportation. Some 83 percent of all land in Maine is forested along hilly roads, meaning there is plenty of opportunity for large amounts of silt runoff to regularly fill drainage ditches. That challenge creates flooding problems, which can turn into icy highways in the winter.
A Gradall XL 4300 III excavator with a ditching bucket is the ideal tool to clean ditches along Route 11, off Route 15 northwest of Bangor. Silt runoff regularly flows down the steep hills on both sides of the road, with soft shoulders or none at all to provide a solid foundation for digging equipment.
The primary advantage for Gradall excavators during the ditch cleanout operation is their ability to reach out and under limbs of large trees that hang over the roads and ditches. The telescoping boom extends under the trees and sometimes even through the branches – a problem for conventional knuckle boom excavators.
The entire Gradall boom tilts 110 degrees in either direction, properly positioning cleanout attachments to remove material from different angles without problems positioning the machine. And because the entire boom tilts, there's no loss of boom power – a drawback for boom-end devices that attempt to rotate attachments on knuckle booms.
With front axle lockout cylinders, a stable wheeled undercarriage and the low-profile boom design, Gradalls can maneuver with full bucket loads of material, speeding up the cleanout process. Operators can also extend the boom out to either side of the undercarriage, or to the front or back, without the need to lower optional outrigger
"The MDOT operator especially liked the maneuverability of the Gradall excavator," said Steve Sawyer, product support sales representative for C.N. Wood, which provided a machine demo for the Bangor area MDOT office. "They can get up and down the road easily, and when they extend the boom, they don't hook onto tree limbs."
For more information about Gradall excavators call (800) 445-4752.