Improving Efficiency in Roadbuilding

How to Break from Tired Road Construction Methods

By Lynn Marsh, President, Road Widener LLC

Let’s face it, road widening, aggregate placement, backfilling, and other road construction tasks have always been messy, backbreaking operations. Busy road construction seasons, limited budgets, and a number of other elements have constrained equipment innovation for decades. This has left road crews in the dust, relying heavily on traditional methods that call for large crews, big machines, and a good dose of manual labor. This reliance on inefficient methods, coupled with a lack of innovation, can have a tremendous impact on infrastructure globally, maxing out already taxed systems in a never-ending loop of failing roadways and subpar means for improvement. 

Contractors need innovative equipment to move forward into an enduring system that allows road crews to catch up and stay on top of their crumbling roadways.

Utilizing attachments to dispense aggregate instead of self-propelled machines and large crews unlocks a host of benefits for contractors, like lower maintenance and costs. Here’s why contractors should opt for an attachment approach. 

Aggregate dispensing attachments, like the FH-R from Road Widener, can easily hook up to most loaders, graders, skid steers and compact track loaders, cutting the steps and labor needed down to a fraction of the traditional method.

More Precise Dispensing Ability

Typically, aggregate is piled on the road for crews to scrape, push and sweep it into place. The inefficiency in this process is easy to spot. Opting for an aggregate dispensing attachment that hooks up to loaders, graders, skid steers and compact track loaders cuts the steps and labor needed down to a fraction of the traditional method.

Gravel, asphalt or topsoil feeds into the hopper at the top of the attachment. From there, the aggregate can be dispensed along a roadway in variable lay down widths, with certain models ranging from 1 to 6 feet. Some attachments offer the choice of single, left side, right side or dual discharge options to place aggregate exactly where it needs to go without additional scraping or sweeping. Attachments with remote-controlled options are also available so the entire operation can be controlled by a single person. 

Attachments add functionality to fleets without the maintenance. Road Construction attachments, like the FH-R from Road Widener, integrate with existing equipment and have no onboard engine, transmission or any other high-maintenance parts of their own. In some cases, this can make for 90 percent less maintenance versus the self-propelled alternative.

Utilizing the attachment method instead of traditional methods streamlines the jobsite, allowing a small crew to dispense tons of aggregate in just minutes while reducing the need for multiple machines, extra operators, and additional crews for cleanup.

Less Maintenance Components

Attachments add functionality to fleets without the maintenance. The need for fewer self-propelled machines greatly reduces maintenance requirements and the associated costs. Attachments that integrate with existing equipmenthave no onboard engine, transmission or any other high-maintenance parts of their own. In some cases, this can makefor 90 percent less maintenance versus the self-propelled alternative required with traditional road construction techniques. 

Gravel, asphalt or topsoil feeds into the hopper at the top of the attachment. From there, the aggregate can be dispensed along a roadway in variable lay down widths to place it exactly where it needs to go without additional scraping or sweeping

Additionally, attachments often only have a handful of grease fittings to maintain. Universal mounting pads and adapter plates available from some manufacturers ensure that this innovative equipment is compatible with the host machine crews are already familiar with maintaining, making for a smoother maintenance process. After connection,and a quick hydraulic hook up and remote pairing, these attachments are ready to work.

The compact design of attachments reduces maintenance elsewhere, too. Most shouldering attachments can fit on the same commercial trailer as the host machine or can be towed by a common pickup truck, cutting out the logistical frenzy of multiple trucks to transport multiple machines to the jobsite. This efficiency over alternative methods carries over to pricing and labor, as well. 

Accessible Pricing 

Self-propelled shouldering machines are expensive, costing around $250,000. A shouldering and paving attachment is just a fraction of that, saving customers up to 80 percent off the purchase price. Additionally, attachments can provide long-term labor savings by reducing crew requirements by half with remote-control operation and precise aggregate dispersion. That means crews can safely and efficiently knock out other tasks at the jobsite instead of pushing, scraping and sweeping aggregate.

Aggregate dispensing attachments, like the FH-R from Road Widener, can easily hook up to most loaders, graders, skid steers and compact track loaders, cutting the steps and labor needed down to a fraction of the traditional method.

 

Choose Innovation and Ease

Shouldering, paving and aggregate dispensing attachments are alleviating the frustrations stemmed by the inefficiencies of self-propelled road construction machines. Crews get a low-cost shouldering and paving attachment that drastically improves productivity and provides unmatched ROI, giving them back control over their roadways. And, when working with a trusted OEM, contractors can ensure their new equipment will help them get the most out of their current fleet.

Photos courtesy of Road Widener LLC

This material appears in the June 2021 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & EngineerConstructionConstruction DigestConstruction NewsConstructioneer,Dixie ContractorMichigan Contractor & BuilderMidwest ContractorNew England ConstructionPacific Builder & EngineerRocky Mountain ConstructionTexas ContractorWestern Builder