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Are Graders Obsolete?

Discussion in 'GPS Systems' started by Steve Frazier, May 22, 2020.

  1. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    My County has been doing a total reconstruction of a two mile stretch of road for the past 8 months, it's nearing completion. They ripped out the old road, did major drainage, softened some curves and put all new base material in. There was never a grader on the job, all of the grading was done with a Deere 750 equipped with GPS pods. I have absolutely no experience with this technology and am curious if it is precise enough to do the work of a grader? Is roadbuilding a job a grader is no longer needed for?

    I worked in roadbuilding in the early 80s and the roads were roughed in by dozer but always finish graded by a grader before paving. I didn't see that on this job.
     
  2. petepilot

    petepilot Senior Member

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    graders are becoming scarce around here also except on big road work.the gps controlled dozers are the thing on small roads and private work . I also noticed that there were very few graders used on the reconstruction of I 84 between Scranton pa. & the ny. line that has been going on for years
     
  3. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    When I was growing up every Town Highway department around here had a Cat 12, there were still a number of gravel roads to maintain. Everything is paved now and as those graders aged they were never replaced. I saw the County's grader out last week cutting shoulders fro drainage but that's about all they seem to do now. About the only place I see them anymore is on YouTube.
     
  4. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    Counties east of the mountains here use them extensively for snow removal and maintaining gravel roads. I haven't seen a contractor in awhile with one on a construction job. There are a few around that do repair work on long driveways and such but I think you are right about the new construction stuff. A grader is an expensive piece of machinery and good operators are about as hard to find as a sasquatch.
     
  5. Bumpsteer

    Bumpsteer Senior Member

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    IIRC, our county is divided into 6 districts, each has a blade to maintain the gravel roads in the spring/summer/fall and plow them in the winter.
    They aren't used every day, once chloride is applied they'll set unless it's re-graveling time.

    Ed
     
  6. suladas

    suladas Senior Member

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    There is tons of construction companies with them here, a few easily have 10. See them all the time in any new subdivisions for the roads. My county does the roads in the winter sometimes with them, paved roads where I am but a ton of gravel in other places. The city still hires a lot of them for snow removal too. They have their place for bigger companies for sure. But all the smaller asphalt guys can't justify them i'm sure, most just use CTL's.
     
  7. Oldcatpusher

    Oldcatpusher Well-Known Member

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    Got to have one on my jobsite. Scrapers don't have cushion hitches and I hear too much complaining if the haul roads aren't smooth.
     
  8. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    We have lots of gravel township and county roads and lots of graders yet. The townships don't pave hardly anything in this harsh environment. Just add a few loads og gravel to the worst ones in the summer. It takes a lot of money per mile to get a road base solid enough in our climate to hold up to asphalt. Snowplowing with graders are still a big thing. I have noticed that the farther south I go the less graders I see working and little to none gravel roads.
     
    grandpa likes this.
  9. walkerv

    walkerv Senior Member

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    My county has a couple newer john Deere's only tine i have ever seen them out is the very occasional heavy snow 2-3 inches that comes around every few years lol they might be rentals for thay situation . We had 2 cats sold one kept one as a backup not sure if boss man leases the new jd grader or if he bought it. They stay with the asphalt crews, small parking area they will do the base with a ctl but the long roads they do with the grader.
     
  10. AzIron

    AzIron Senior Member

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    Blades are alive and well here if there are 2 scrappers on a job you will find a blade before a dozer one company here has over 20 blades not mention the county got 20 to 30 of them

    It's all about job size around here anything small and it will be grade tractors and a loader
     
  11. kshansen

    kshansen Senior Member

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    Trying to remember the last time I saw a grader around here, well we did have a small JD at the quarry but it never got used as it had problem with water in the oil and I could never get permission to attack that problem!

    As for gravel roads other that private roads to lake houses I'm having trouble trying to think of the last one in this part of the state!

    I do know of a couple around here similar to this one, one is owed by a trucking outfit a friend works for and he has been trying to talk his boss into giving it to me for a lawn ornament! The other one is parked in a farmers field not far from me. Just need to get a team of Belgian Horses, would I need a two or four hitch to run that?
    grader.png
     
    mekon likes this.
  12. 92U 3406

    92U 3406 Senior Member

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    I see a lot of graders around here. City owns a bunch of 160M's for snow removal. The mines use 24M's to grade the haul roads. Lot of the contractors are using them for finish grading as well.
     
  13. mekon

    mekon Active Member

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    GPS dozer is good for close medium grading but a blade is necessary for a nice fine grade.
     
  14. petepilot

    petepilot Senior Member

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    in all the 700 plus miles of I 80-90- 84 that I traveled last week of all the construction work going on I only spotted 2 graders 1 cat 1 deere lots of dozers with horns
     
  15. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    You must have passed pretty close to me petepilot. I'm not too far from what used to be NY exit 16 on I84. I don't know what the new number is.

    Sounds like graders are still popular in the midwest and Canada but I'm not seeing them used in road construction here in the Hudson Valley much anymore. I'm seeing more shoulders cut with a Gradall most times now instead of a grader, and that's about the last job I've been seeing them do around here.
     
  16. petepilot

    petepilot Senior Member

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    yea I was just across the river from you on 87. I run back and forth up that way quite a bit `we have a lot of bridge work going on in mass. so I run 84- 87 & the mass pike. avoid conn. as much as possible` just to congested `I can save 3 hrs going that way
     
    Steve Frazier likes this.
  17. .RC.

    .RC. Senior Member

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    I am not sure if the question should be "Are graders obsolete" or "Do project managers, foremen and the office crowd know what machines are more efficient at doing a job". I have seen road projects where excavators are taking days to do something (in this case a shallow road v shaped drain) a grader could do in a few hours. I assume simply because the person in control of the jobsite has no idea of the efficient movement of earth or labour.
     
    Camshawn and DB2 like this.
  18. AzIron

    AzIron Senior Member

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    You can say that again in today's market it seems bean counters know all about what will work and what wont cause you know they went to school for it

    In reality 30 years ago manufacturers started gearing designs to limited operator abilities and were saying back then 20 to 30 years from now there wont be any operators some how the industry accepted this and now we have no operators cause gps will do it for them

    I understand that's an oversimplification but it seems that's the trend
     
    Theweldor likes this.
  19. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

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    I guess a better title would be "Are Graders Becoming Obsolete?" I wasn't intending to offend anyone but my observations, at least in my area are there are fewer and fewer graders than in the past. As I mentioned earlier, when I was a kid just about every Town highway department had a Cat 12. I can remember riding my bike from job to job to watch the grader rip up deteriorated pavement with the scarifier and then prep for oil and stone with the blade.

    I realized when I created this post I hadn't seen a grader in quite a while and remembered the job where I'd have thought one would be required used a dozer with GPS. There is another similar project underway and it will be interesting to see whether one is used there or not.
     
  20. petepilot

    petepilot Senior Member

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    steve
    did you ever run one one of those old knucklebuster 12s ?