Big piles of snow in the winter, along with normal vegetation growth, can create an important, ongoing challenge for highway crews in Maine. Region 5 of the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) put a Gradall XL 4300 III excavator to work removing a large earthen ledge—a job typically handled using conventional excavators—along Rte. 164.
“When a snowplow goes around a big, sharp corner like this, or a school bus tries to get safely through the intersection, visibility is critical, so it’s very important that the highway crew has an efficient way to lower a ledge like this,” said Steve Sawyer, product support sales representative for C.N. Wood—Gradall distributor for the state of Maine.
The MDOT operator used the full-tilting boom on the XL 4300 III model to remove dirt, sand, rock and shale from a 200-ft-long ledge that was 6 to 8 ft high in some spots.
“He used a grading bucket and a pavement bucket to lower the ledge, going back about 40 to 50 feet from the road, and then creating the correct final grade,” said Sawyer. “The angle of the grading bucket, using the full boom tilt, helps remove material and creates a final grade more quickly than a conventional excavator.”
About 25 truckloads of material were hauled from the site in a process that was completed in less than a day, but would have taken much longer with a conventional excavator.
“The Gradall is very stable and doesn’t need outriggers, so the operator can pick up and carry big buckets of dirt,” said Sawyer. “That’s something a conventional wheeled excavator can’t do.”
The Gradall also requires less repositioning, because its exceptional stability allows the operator to work in any direction without needing to stop and lower outriggers.