City of Kannapolis Sees Smoother Roads With LeeBoy

When you have been successful and happy doing a construction job a certain way for a number of years, it is often difficult to see how it can be done even better.

📅   Mon November 23, 2015 - Southeast Edition
Eric Olson - CEG CORRESPONDENT


The new Rosco also has reduced the repair time of a single pothole.
The new Rosco also has reduced the repair time of a single pothole.
The new Rosco also has reduced the repair time of a single pothole. James Waldroup, the city’s transportation manager, can track the work and see electronically what the Rosco has been able to accomplish. Bill Pillsbury, city of Kannapolis, operates the LeeBoy Rosco RA-400 pothole patcher. (L-R) are Wilmer Melton, director of public works for the city of Kannapolis; James Waldroup, city of Kannapolis transportation manager; and Bill Pillsbury, city of Kannapolis. The new truck adeptly tackles the small and mid-size potholes, 2.5 ft. (.7 m) or less, that make up the vast majority of asphalt problems on Kannapolis’s streets.

When you have been successful and happy doing a construction job a certain way for a number of years, it is often difficult to see how it can be done even better.

But construction equipment technology from Leeboy always delivers on its promise to help get things done faster and more efficiently, and that is exactly what LeeBoy’s new Rosco RA-400 pothole patcher is doing for the streets and roadways of the city of Kannapolis.

The city’s public works department turned to Carolina CAT in Charlotte to help find the right vehicle for its needs. What the city chose was a versatile truck that has tremendously improved its productivity and response time.

To illustrate that numerically, from the time the new Rosco was put in service last January through July, Kannapolis realized a staggering 364.4 percent increase in pothole and other minor asphalt repairs as compared to 2014.

That puts the city on a pace to see a 600 percent increase for 2015 with fewer failures, less labor and lower material costs per pothole.

According to Wilmer Melton, director of public works for the city of Kannapolis, his Department patched 1,244 potholes in 2014 using conventional equipment and crews.

“With this new Rosco truck, we were able to address 5,777 potholes and other minor asphalt repairs so far in 2015,” he said. “That is just a tremendous increase in efficiency and from what we have seen, they have been great repairs.”

Besides the cost savings, this level of efficiency also leads to much happier residents, as well as fewer complaint calls and accidents, which often lead to lawsuits.

Utilizing a New Method

“We have been extremely pleased with how the truck has performed and how the mix of material, air and asphalt has been blown into the holes and really stayed in place,” Melton said.

He said the city wanted a machine that not only gave it improved efficiency in its operations, but one that utilized a simple-to-use technology in the repair of potholes and cracks in asphalt surfaces.

Kannapolis, like any city with mild winters, gets a large number of potholes each year, particularly during freeze-thaw events.

When studying the problem of getting more pothole repairs done in a quicker time frame, Melton and his staff considered their options: Do they get more people and equipment or do they look for something new?

The first alternative would definitely mean spending more money in the long-term, but was a tried-and-true method.

“So we began to look at technologies that were new and different in the marketplace and this truck gave us the ability to minimize the number of staff members that we would have to put out there to actually do a proper asphalt repair,” Melton said.

The old method of fixing a hole is very labor-intensive. It meant having to cut out the hole, prep it and put the filler material in place. With this machine, Melton said that crews are utilizing the existing configuration of the hole and simply force-blowing the material in to make the repair.

Staff and equipment is minimized and they can then move more quickly to the next problem on the fix-it list.

The new truck adeptly tackles the small and mid-size potholes, 2.5 ft. (.7 m) or less, that make up the vast majority of asphalt problems on Kannapolis’s streets.

Quicker Fixes

The new Rosco also has reduced the repair time of a single pothole.

Bill Pillsbury, construction maintenance technician of the city operator of the Rosco, said that a typical pothole can be fixed in about a minute using the machine.

“Usually I pull up to the hole, turn on the corkscrew blower and blast out the dust,” he said. “After that, I start spraying rock and tack oil together to fill the hole. Right at the end I spray dry rock on top which keeps the asphalt from sticking to tires. When the rock and the tack is blown in, that force compacts it.”

Just to make sure, Pillsbury will drive the truck right over the repaired area to check for problems.

Perhaps most importantly, using the Rosco truck is preventing cracks and potholes in the same spot from re-forming, Pillsbury said.

“With this truck, the process in general has allowed us to not disturb the area around the hole when doing a repair, which has always been a concern,” said Melton. “Any time you can seal a surface off or prevent any intrusion of water down into the sub-base area you are going to prolong the life cycle of the asphalt in place.”

Less Paper, More Rapid Response

Combining the RA-400 with wireless internet also is saving the city on the dreaded piles of paperwork, while satisfying citizens with a more rapid response to repairs.

Melton challenged his staff to work as paper-free as possible. As a result, his people implemented tablet technology to work in the truck so that they are able to receive work orders in the field.

Using a 12-inch Android tablet, Pillsbury is able to access a work order minutes after someone calls Public Works about a potentially dangerous hole.

Then, James Waldroup, the city’s transportation manager, can track the work and see electronically what the Rosco has been able to accomplish. At that point, the citizen can then be alerted that the hole was repaired.

Carolina CAT

a Great Partner

Waldroup credits the excellent help and service that Carolina CAT continues to give the city regarding the Rosco RA-400.

“They have been right on top of any problems we have had,” he said. “When we schedule maintenance, they will send a technician out to us, get it fixed and back on the road in a day or so.”

He added that he and his staff did attend demonstrations of other patch trucks, but they were most impressed with the RA-400.

“We liked the telescoping boom on the front, the ease of operation for one person inside the truck and the design of the vortex hopper for the rock,” he explained. “The way it transmitted rock to the tube to spray out was the design we preferred. The joystick control on the inside was another key point in Rosco’s favor. Most vehicles are similar in design, but we thought that in the long-term this would be a better truck for us.”