Highway Power

John Deere 326D skid steers utilised in highway restoration

John Deere 326D skid steer loader with Hydrapower Profiler.

The south Australian Department of Planning, Transport, and Infrastructure (DPTI) is currently operating three John Deere 326D skid steer loaders to undertake road profiling and maintenance along the South Australian highway system. These machines are being utilised by the Field Services Unit, who are responsible for the road maintenance on the South Australian section of the Stuart Highway (which runs from Port Augusta to Darwin) and Eyre Highway (which runs from Adelaide to Perth).

The 326D skid steer loaders deliver exceptional power through increased auxiliary flows supported by the Hydrapower Profiler attachment. These machines are facilitating road restoration and shoulder work activities along highway roads and are responsible for restoring pavement failures by rebuilding the road from the base upwards. An auger attachment is also being utilised in the installation of road signage.

According to Trevor Graetz, Fleet Management Officer of DPTI’s Northern and Western Region of South Australia, “Serviceability and after sales support were key considerations when making our purchase decision due to the remote locations these units operate, which can be anywhere up to the Northern Territory or Western Australian borders in South Australia.”

The machines continue to impress operators in areas of both comfort and performance. Additional cabin space and optimised air conditioning within the 326D skid steer loaders have contributed to operator comfort. This has reflected positively on productivity when undertaking projects in regions where temperatures can exceed 40°. It is therefore important that the right machine has the performance to match.

Optimised machine controllability has been achieved through the skid steer’s creeper mode enabling operators to control speed while maintaining maximum hydraulic flow, which is particularly important when operating the profiler attachment.

The relationship between Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCA) and the DPTI was established in 2011 with the purchase of the John Deere 326D skid steers. “Hitachi has been great in their after sales support, particularly in negotiating the arrangement of upgraded equipment required without any impact on productivity. We will work with Hitachi to undertake refresher training for operators aimed at addressing various technical skills important to machine function,” said Trevor.

The new Whyalla depot established in South Australia is playing a fundamental role in supporting the servicing requirements of surrounding areas important to DPTI project locations.

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