District 4 proposes discing roadway shoulders
to save on materials

A proposed innovation from District 4 will help reduce the amount of shoulder material purchased by ITD. By utilizing the shoulder disc shown in this video, the department's maintenance workers are able to retrieve material that is pushed to the side or lost over time by existing shoulder impacts such as passing traffic, plowing, or weather-related events.

"Normally, we would have trucks hauling material to the shoulder, use a side caster to place the material onto the shoulder, and then shape it to the shoulder with a grader," explained Beau Pulse from the Bliss maintenance shed. Pulse and Joe Sabala, workers in the Bliss facility, had the idea of the shoulder disc. "With the disc, we would just pull the material up from the shoulder to the edge of the roadway and shape it to the shoulder needed with the grader."

Although this has so far been employed primarily on county routes rather than state roads, the potential cost savings are significant.

"We use so much different material that it is hard to come up with a number," said Pulse. "I just figured it at $15 a ton, and if we used 20 tons per mile, it would be $300 a mile, so if you could do 20 miles a year, it would save around $6,000 a year."

Published 04-19-19