Located in north-central Wisconsin, Wausau offers the convenience of city living with the beauty and recreation of the north woods just minutes away from any doorstep in town.
Keeping traffic on the city streets moving, especially during the winter months, is the job of the Wausau Department of Public Works. Don Skure, street superintendent for the department, operates a fleet of six Case wheel loaders used in a wide range of projects.
The city operates a 5,000-cu-ton salt dome. “It’s about enough to get us through the winter,” said Skure.
The department’s 621E Case wheel loader is a key piece of equipment when loading salt into trucks during the winter. The machine pulls up to the salt dome and retrieves as many bucket loads of road salt as are needed to load the truck.
In addition to using salt to keep winter roads clear, the department will utilize the 621E wheel loader to occasionally spread salt over the city’s sandpile to keep it from freezing during the coldest winter months.
After loading the salt trucks, the department uses the Case 621E wheel loader’s hydraulic quick coupler to switch over to a snow bucket or snowblower. All six of the department’s wheel loaders help with snow removal.
“The Case 621E wheel loaders are good for going up and down hills that trucks have trouble with,” said Skure. “We have steep hills in our area.”
Skure uses the Case 621E wheel loaders for special projects whenever possible. One recent example involved the demolition of a one-block section of Third Street between Washington and Jefferson. Skure’s crew used a combination of wheel loaders and a rented skid steer to load out the street materials.
“We saved nearly $500,000 by doing it ourselves,” said Skure. “Other than in-house labor, the only real cost was the skid steer rental and fuel.”
Another typical demolition project involves using the city’s Case 621E wheel loaders in street work involving plumber holes. City workers cut away a section of concrete or asphalt and then use the wheel loaders to scrape away the material and load it onto a truck. They also use the wheel loaders for hauling away asphalt from road projects for recycling.
Wausau recently upgraded its fleet of Case machines with the addition of a new Case 721E equipped with a hydraulic quick coupler and 4-in-1 bucket.
According to Skure, creature comforts make the Case 721E a winner with the operators. He reported that they like the comfortable seat. “The levers make for ease of operation,” he said. “There is no lag in the steering. The bucket moves to the controls with no lag time so it’s easier to avoid hitting the truck when loading. There’s also no drift.”
The operators report they love the power, according to Skure. “The Case 721E has more power than any machine we tested,” he said.
Skure mentioned the 4-in-1 bucket combined with the quick coupler as important attachments. “The quick coupler lets us attach the forks quickly for forklift operations. The great thing is you can do everything from inside the cab.”