Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana



Grapple attachment efficiently removes debris and vegetation from drainage ditches

Calcasieu Parish Division of Engineering and Public Works estimates that up to 90 percent of its man hours are dedicated to clearing drainage ditches and cleaning up after storms. Men and equipment must be able to react quickly to keep the ditches clear to control the threat of flooding.


An XL 4100 II with a grapple attachment is a critical piece of equipment, helping Calcasieu Parish keep drainage ditches open. After storms, crews drive the XL 4100 II excavator at highway speeds to clear ditches at various locations throughout the parish. Using the Gradall's full tilting boom and a grapple attachment, one operator is able to remove tree trunks and debris with exceptional speed. One job also involved the removal of a large tree stump that had grown in a draining ditch, obstructing proper water drainage. Using the grapple, the XL 4100 II operator was able to scrape soil from around the roots and then remove the tree stump. Because the entire Gradall® boom tilts, there's no loss of boom-end power as the grapple attachment is tilted to carefully remove the stump, trunk and branches without damaging power lines that were buried nearby. From the upper cab, the operator can maneuver the carrier over the pavement to transport the trunk and branches into a nearby truck. Rubber tires on the carrier also eliminate concerns about pavement damage - a problem if a conventional crawler excavator is used for the job. "We use other attachments like buckets for Gradall work on asphalt repair and right-of-way maintenance," said Patrick Ardoin, the parish fleet manager, who is very interested in versatile machines that can do jobs that sometimes require many pieces of equipment. Because the operator can drive the XL 4100 II to jobsites without needing a lowboy trailer, it's convenient to drive the machines back to the safety of the equipment yard each night.

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