Trail Blazing In Tasmania
Designing mountain bike tracks with the ZX17U-3
The Hitachi ZX17U-3 is playing a critical role in the construction and development of mountain bike tracks in Northern Tasmania as part of an initiative between The Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania and the Department of Sport and Recreation.
The funds contributed by both organisations have been allocated to the Launceston Mountain Bike Club for the construction of purpose-built bike tracks through the Kate Reed and Trevallyn Reserves in the Launceston region.
Alliance Dry Hire has rented their new ZX17U-3 machines to the contractors undertaking the excavation work on behalf of the Launceston Mountain Bike Club.
In partnership with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, the contractors are utilising this Hitachi mini excavator to build the tracks within the natural recreational reserves.
According to Tim Dyke, one of the contractors responsible for the track design, “We are really impressed with the multi functionality, counterweight and excellent tail swing clearance of the machine. The zero swing allows us to work efficiently within a narrow track width without creating too much disturbance to surrounding rocks and trees.”
Due to a number of challenges existing in areas such as a natural recreational reserve, smaller machines such as the ZX17U-3 are ideal. “Just being able to rotate the excavator without hitting the tail is great,” said Tim. “The lifting power and hydraulics are really impressive, particularly when moving very large rocks. It is proving ideal in assisting us in placing large stones to form a bridge across a creek crossing.”
In relation to visibility during machine operation, “The three pillar canopy offers great visibility which is crucial for us when maneuvering the excavator in this restrictive environment,” reported Tim. “The ZX17U-3 is quiet, comfortable and remains incredibly stable in the steep and rocky terrain.”
Much of the work on the bike tracks still requires some physical ‘manpower’. However, operators can achieve four times more track building through the use of one machine compared to the work performed by two men by hand.