The construction industry plays a vital part in developing and maintaining infrastructure for any country. In many developed countries, the construction industry forms a significant part of the gross domestic product of that nation and typically accounts for between 5% to 15% of total GDP. The construction industry allows the growth and expansion of cities to take place whilst providing suitable infrastructure, such as road networks, to ensure that there are adequate transport links to support the new developments. A key sector of the construction industry is that of roadworks and highway maintenance. This area of construction is tasked with building new road networks, extending existing highways and maintaining existing roads. As any driver knows, roads can degrade over a relatively short period of time. This is especially true in winter when changes in temperature, winter showers and freezing conditions can result in damage to road networks. Potholes and damage to the asphalt road surface need to be repaired in a timely manner as it has the potential to damage vehicles if they make contact with them at speed. This article focuses on the work of roadworks firms and describes some of the key equipment that is required in these operations.
A compactor wheel is a vital piece of equipment in any roadworks firm. These are heavy-duty wheels that are designed to fit onto an excavator and feature raised “teeth” that protrude from the wheel edge. The compactor wheel is typically attached to an excavator and then used to backfill trenches that have been made as part of the road construction process. The weight of the wheel combined with the pressure that is applied from the excavator allows the trenches to be filled and compacted in a highly efficient and timely manner. In short, compactor wheels are found in almost all roadworks firms as they offer a reliable way to backfill and compact trenches.
Earthworks machinery covers a wide range of equipment types in the construction industry. Put simply, when terrain needs to be reshaped or roads need to be built, earthworks equipment is required. One of the most common pieces of earthworks equipment in the roadworks sector is the use of graders. Graders are heavy vehicles that feature a large, bladed attachment that is positioned on the underside of the vehicle. As the grader moves over the surface, the heavy-duty blade passes over and flattens the surface to a precise level.
In roadworks, specifically in the construction and maintenance of highways, there is commonly a need to lift heavy concrete or metal structures that will form part of the “central reservation” of a highway. Many highways use concrete or metal structures to create a crash barrier that helps to improve road safety by minimizing the risk of vehicles moving over to the opposite side of the carriageway (i.e., into the path of oncoming traffic) should an accident occur. This type of construction is far too heavy to be lifted by a human workforce and so the use of lifting equipment is used to move and position these durable safety features. Compact tractor cranes are often used to move these structures.