We’ve recently completed the fabrication of a gravel pup trailer saving more than $10,000 in the county’s budget. It takes a hefty budget to provide quality roads and bridges and we in the Winnebago County Road Department do our best to maximize performance with the funds we receive from our citizens. Quality employees with diverse skillsets allow us to be very creative in our operations and our latest project is a great example.
A major function of this department is to haul rock and gravel from pits and quarries to the gravel roads throughout the county. Semis and bottom dump trailers provide the most efficient method of hauling rock because they can haul more per trip, but since dump trucks are needed for plowing snow, we pull pup trailers to maximize our performance. Historically the county has paid for the trailers to be fabricated and assembled, but we’ve chosen another option.
An old dump body was salvaged for reuse on the new chassis, so the savings can be illustrated by comparing the cost of a recently purchased chassis to the cost of building one ourselves. The value of tools and equipment use was omitted for simplicity.
2012 Brady Pup Chassis $22,500 (purchase price)
2014 Pup Chassis Parts $12,000
2014 Pup Chassis Labor $4,700 – Incidental to normal operations
Total Savings $10,500
This project idea is a product of the creativity and experience of our maintenance superintendent, Mark Johnson, who has been with the County for over 30 years. Our Road Department is staffed to provide immediate snow removal efforts, so there is some down time in the winter between snow events. During that down time, some operators perform machine maintenance and repairs, repair road signs, and haul rock and gravel, among other things, while others are focused on larger projects which would otherwise require outside contractors.
Jeff Thompson and Dennis Tweeten are snow plow drivers and Aaron Henderson is the full time truck mechanic, but together spent over 160 hours welding and assembling the frame and equipping the trailer with electrical, air, and hydraulic systems. The trailer features air ride suspension and a dual acting hoist, in addition to anti-lock brake systems, lights, and other components required by Iowa law. With such prominent savings, two more trailers are planned to be built over the next year. For more photos, see our Facebook page.
Scott Meinders, County Engineer
Winnebago County Road Department