Dixon, Illinois



Installing highway drainage system benefits from XL 4100 II excavators’ work speed

Minimizing interruption of traffic flow is particularly critical on busy interstate highways, especially around large cities like Chicago where they are vital for commuters. On I-80 in Dixon, Illinois, outside Chicago, crews from Abbey Paving were challenged to work quickly on a 33-mile section, installing a drainage system to collect water from beneath the highway surface in preparation for a new asphalt topping. The I-80 drainage project involved cutting and removing asphalt and soil, and creating a channel running down the middle of the right traffic lane. Pipe is laid about 36 inches below the surface to collect underground water that can freeze and damage the surface. To draw water from the pipe, lateral seams are cut at regular intervals over the 33-mile section of highway creating over 400 seams in all. In each of these seams, additional 6-inch drainage pipes are buried and then secured by concrete castings installed at the edge of the highway to channel water into drainage ditches.


The Gradall® Model XL 4100-II excavator enabled work to proceed quickly on the huge project because it can be driven right to the work site. As work progresses, the operator also can keep the machine working without delay because he can efficiently reposition the carrier from the upper operator cab. Because the carrier is mounted on rubber tires, there is no chance of damage to pavement that is not being disturbed. Johnny Coffey, a Gradall excavator operator for Abbey, used the versatile boom movements to cut out the lateral seams and then excavate areas to install the concrete castings. He uses the rugged Gradall boom to lower the heavy concrete castings into place, and after a concrete top is poured, the Model XL 4100-II excavator is used to refill dirt around the castings. Finally, the Gradall excavator provides a cleanup solution, moving along the edge of the highway and removing dirt, gravel and pieces of concrete and asphalt.

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