Jackson Township, Ohio



Discovery Series excavator meets township challenge to affordably handle culvert repair

For most municipalities, handling routine highway and street repair, re-curbing and drainage work is an ongoing challenge that typically requires a lot of manpower and several machines, all of which must be financed with tight governmental budgets.

The Jackson Township Highway Division in Stark County, Ohio, is typical. Its 13 full-time employees and limited equipment fleet are responsible for maintaining 202 miles of paved roads, in addition to clearing drainage ditches, repairing curbs, mowing and much more.

Gradall's Discovery Series excavators proved to be an excellent equipment option for the township. With a versatile telescoping, tilting boom and upperstructure mounted on a Freightliner truck chassis, the Discovery model is an affordable replacement for a G3WD Gradall excavator that had served the township for many years.


Purpose-designed for governments, the Discovery Series crossover excavators are the result of a collaboration between engineers from Gradall and Freightliner, resulting in a low-cost machine that can use a variety of attachments to handle jobs like ditching, grading and landscaping as well as curb, gutter and sidewalk repairs.

Another common Discovery Series excavator job is culvert replacement - a job that operator Tom Shonk handled with the Jackson Township machine.

When jetters were unable to open up a clogged metal drainage pipe under a residential driveway, Shonk used the Discovery model's tilting boom and ditching bucket to excavate and remove the old pipe, and then clean up the ditch.

The boom then was used to position three sections of new plastic pipe in the ditch, where one end was attached to an existing drainpipe. Next, the Gradall carefully excavated a place to install a new catch basin, and lowered it into position at the other end of the pipe.

The tilting boom movements were ideal to evenly spread fine aggregate around the new pipe, creating an even surface that was topped with course aggregate - the finished surface for the residential driveway. The entire project was completed in a few hours, well before the homeowner returned to use his driveway.

"We use the Gradall all the time for road repair, asphalt work, demolition with the fire department, tree stump removal and moving salt in the storage building over the winter," said Shonk, who has 19 years' experience operating Gradall excavators.

The township's two primary operators both prefer the Gradall joystick control pattern, but on occasion, the excavator is also operated by an employee who is used to different types of equipment. To easily accommodate them, there's an in-cab switch to change the joystick pattern to either Deere or SAE.

"We put the Gradall out to work almost every day," said Victor Volpe, assistant public works director for the township. He noted that the Freightliner undercarriage can be driven at speeds up to 55 mph, eliminating the need for a lowboy trailer and truck - a requirement for conventional excavators and backhoes.

"With this one machine, one operator can do many different jobs at many different locations thanks to the tilting boom and ease of travel," Volpe added. "We really like it," he added. "The ease of travel and its ability to do many jobs, for us, makes it ideal."

For more information about Gradall excavators call (800) 445-4752.