Maine city uses excavator to unclog culverts

January 07, 2015
Gradall XL 4300 III excavator
Gradall XL 4300 III excavator

On Rte. 205 near Presque Isle, Maine, runoff from nearby potato fields can clog culverts running beneath roads, creating washouts and resulting in flooding hazards if not quickly addressed. Region 5 of the Maine Department of Transportation efficiently tackled this issue with a Gradall XL 4300 III excavator.

While culvert jobs usually require several Department of Transportation machines, the Rte. 205 job in Maine required only a Gradall XL 4300 III excavator, along with a pavement saw and roller—a big benefit for cost-conscious county and state highway departments that like to rely on fewer machines and minimal manpower to do more work.

To maintain partial traffic flow, half of the culvert replacement was completed before starting the other half. After the initial pavement sawing was complete on the first half, a Maine Department of Transportation operator used the XL 4300 III and a grading bucket to pull up large pieces of the asphalt surface, as well as part of the old culvert pipe. A ditching bucket cleaned up the edges of the ditch and created a level bottom at the desired depth before lowering the new pipe into position. The tilting boom spread soil evenly over the pipe, leveled the surface again and then spread asphalt mix, which was rolled.

After the first half of the road was completed, the process was repeated on the other half. The short tail swing on the XL 4300 III helped to minimize traffic-flow interruption, while the wheeled undercarriage was able to move around on the paved surface without creating damage that is typically associated with track excavators.

The crew found the all-terrain XL 4300 III to be highly mobile and exceptionally stable without having to use the optional outriggers while it worked from the front, rear, left and right sides of the machine. The ability to dig down close to the undercarriage was another advantage.

After the culvert pipe had been installed, the Gradall created a proper grade in the ditches on both sides of the road to create a clear drainage path. The job progressed quickly, starting at 7 a.m. when the pavement was cut; by 3:30 or 4:00 p.m., the Gradall was back in the equipment yard.

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