Hardin County, Texas



Hurricane Harvey cleanup raises awareness of Discovery Series versatility, productivity

In September 2017, when Hurricane Harvey slammed southeast Texas with torrential downpours creating widespread flooding and dozens of road closures, maintenance crews in Hardin County were among the many who were immediately pressed into action.

The county, located 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, is largely made up of coastal planes with many streams and rivers draining into the Neches River. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many of its 18,000 households were flooded, critical access highways were inaccessible and waterways overran their banks.

Precinct 2, the largest in Hardin County, immediately put its Gradall D152 Discovery Series excavator into service, removing household debris, hundreds of fallen pine trees and opening avenues for drainage.


"Our D152 has several attachments that really came in handy in the cleanup," said Scott Westhoven, Precinct 2 road and bridge foreman.

Acquired in 2016, the excavator purchase included ditching and excavating buckets, a grapple and a tree trimming attachment. Later, the precinct added a laser system to enable the operator to maintain drainage flow in culverts with a uniform cleanout and dig depth.

"A lot of our homes were completely under water, and people had to pile up all kinds of structural materials and household items in front of their properties," he continued. "With the Gradall tilting boom and using the grapple, we could pick up a lot of debris pretty quickly and load it onto trucks, cleaning up afterward with a skid steer."

Precinct 2 had earlier experience owning two Gradall G3WD excavators. "The boom reach on the Discovery Series models is a foot or two shorter than the G3WDs, but the power is good for our work," said Westhoven.

"The tilting boom definitely makes it easier to pick up and load, especially trees and logs that we have to turn to lay flat in trucks." On a routine basis, the machine and attachments are used for a wide range of jobs - cutting back tree limbs that hang over roads, or using the excavating bucket to dig up asphalt in repaving projects.

Discovery Series models use a Freightliner truck chassis for their undercarriage, creating the first crossover-style excavators. "We have three other Freightliner trucks, so driving the Discovery machine out to jobs is nothing new for us," said Westhoven. "The Discovery concept also saved us about $100,000, and we use the same truck dealer for service."

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