Cleanup after harsh weather puts excavator versatility to work

April 29, 2016

The dramatic changes in Texas weather can create a wide range of maintenance issues for the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). Wind, rain, heat and even droughts can create the immediate need to clear away vegetation, clean drainage canals or remove fallen or overgrown trees along roadways.

That is why TXDOT has typically maintained a fleet of highly mobile Gradall excavators, which was recently augmented with the addition of six new XL 4100 IV models, three of which are assigned to the area around Tyler.

“Our crews use Gradalls every day for work of some kind,” said Clint Costner, equipment supervisor at Tyler. Jobs include clearing rights-of-way, loading trucks, pushing fallen trees off roads, cleaning ditches, emergency response tasks and even burying animals.

“Each of our new models comes with several attachments—this time including a Promac 52-in. rotary brushcutter,” said Costner. The telescoping, tilting Gradall boom can position the brushcutter at any angle to efficiently grind up large tree limbs and stumps or clear ground-level vegetation, creating a neat appearance and, in many cases, improving sight lines.

Each of the XL 4100 IV models is also equipped with a 60-in. ditching bucket, an 18-in. trenching bucket and a grapple to maximize the versatility potential of the machines.

XL 4100 IV models have highway-speed undercarriages and automatic transmissions, making them easier than ever to drive. “Using a Gradall usually makes maintenance work a one-man operation,” said Costner. “He can drive it out, do a job and then drive it back to the yard. There’s no time lost to loading a machine, and we can respond pretty quickly.”

Once the machine is at work, it can be repositioned along the length of a ditch or roadway from the upper-structure cab—another time-saver that improves productivity.

“This style of machine has a lot of functionality to it,” said Costner.

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