Handy Hitch compactor: This year the town purchased a Handy Hitch compactor. It is pulled behind the grader as the roads are graded. This piece of equipment can be operated by a single person. It is able to maintain constant pressure on the road and will leave a smooth, uniform surface. It results in a driving surface that stands up to the impact of weather and traffic. The town owned a smaller version but it needed to be attached to another piece of equipment and operated by another person. It was not able to apply the same amount of pressure.
This new piece of equipment results in less operator time, less use of equipment and that equals less fuel and less repairs. When Joe Amrein, Equipment Operator, was asked his opinion about the Handy Hitch he said, “This is the best piece of equipment a town can purchase. Having worked on roads without it, I can see the difference it makes on the roads. No town should be without one.”
GRAVEL RECLAIMER: You may have noticed the shoulders of some of the town roads are being dug up. The road crew has been experimenting with a piece of equipment called a gravel reclaimer. The equipment looks like a disc that might be used in a field. It is pulled behind a tractor and cuts up the sod and pulls the gravel up closer to the road. Because this has not been used before in the town, the sod has gotten quite thick and it takes about 4 passages to break it up and “reclaim” the gravel. The grader comes behind and rolls the gravel and broken up sod onto the road. This looks a bit messy and it takes a few passes with the grader and some traffic to break down the sod. But the end product has been helpful for maintaining the road. The benefit of this equipment is as the name implies, reclaims the gravel that has been pushed down into the ditch through years of road maintenance. It also helps in reshaping the ditches to make sure there is adequate slope to keep the water flowing in the ditches rather on the roadbed. They also tried using it on a blacktop road where gravel had been placed to have a slight shoulder. This pulls the gravel up and level with the edge of the blacktop which is beneficial in protecting the blacktop edges. The Town of Bayview was willing to allow our crew to use their equipment so they could determine if it was something that would be useful for our township. After trying it out on a number of roads, it was decided that it would be a helpful piece of equipment for the Town of Washburn. The Town Board gave approval to purchase a gravel reclaimer for a cost $9,500. Because this has not been done before, it will take some time to get to all the roads and each road will require a bit more work. As stated before, it will look a bit messy at first. After this initial process is complete, it will be used each year on the roads and will not be as noticeable, but will keep our roads in better condition.