The Waukee Public Works Department serves 5,500 utility customers with the help of its Bobcat M-Series E80 excavator.
The city of Waukee experienced a population explosion in the last decade. Once a bedroom community outside of Des Moines, Iowa, Waukee has become one of the fastest growing cities in the state with an estimated population today of 12,300 — more than doubling what it recorded in the 2000 census.
The public works department in Waukee has had to grow to adjust to the rising number of utility customers. Assistant Director of Public Works Tim Royer said the department has 24 full-time employees today. He was just the third employee in the small department when he started in 1991. Today the department serves 5,500 utility customers with services including water, storm sewer and natural gas.
E80 Replaces Backhoe Loader
Rather than hire outside vendors for all of the city’s construction projects, Royer said the department tries to do as much of the work in-house as possible. Recently, Royer oversaw the purchase of a new Bobcat E80 excavator from Capital City Equipment Company. The E80 was selected to replace an aging backhoe loader because it offered several advantages over the rubber tire machine.
“We wanted a machine that would dig 15 feet deep, but not be so big that we couldn’t get it in small places, and the E80 fit the bill,” Royer said. He said one of the best examples where an E80 has a clear advantage over a backhoe loader is road repairs.
“When we’re removing concrete in the roadway, we can do everything within one lane because we can just spin around and load the concrete behind us,” he explained. “It helps with the traffic flow and it cuts down on how many people we need for flaggers and stopping traffic.”
Quick Attachment Changes
When crews are performing excavating projects, Royer said being able to quickly change attachments is important because it saves valuable time.
“My employees really like the ease of changing buckets,” he said. “They like the ability to go from digging with a 36-inch bucket, dropping down to a smaller one to lay pipe, and then going back to the bigger bucket to backfill. It takes a third of the time to change them compared to our backhoe loader.”
Another significant difference, according to Royer, is the improved visibility with the E80.
“We really like the cab setup and the ability to see, not just what’s in front of us, but to see peripherally.”
A good example of this was on a recent sewer project where the E80 was excavating for 2,200 ft. (670 m) of 8-in. (20 cm) sump pump collector lines. In the offset digging position, the E80 operator had good visibility to the trench and could quickly dump the spoil in the street until the trench was backfilled. This minimized machine repositioning and meant the crew could get the job done faster.
In addition to the E80, Royer purchased a T300 and an S250 on a municipal program.
This story was reprinted with permission from Bobcat WorkSaver Magazine, Fall 2009 Issue.