New high-tech road grader ordered in CassPublished 5:00am Saturday, September 5, 2009
By NORMA LERNER
Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS – A new high-tech road grader for the Cass County Road Commission was ordered Thursday, the first one of its kind for the workers. There is no steering wheel.
It has hand controls. And yes, it does require some training to operate it, and the price was right. With three trade ins of older model graders, the cost of the new grader comes out below trade-in value, and the successful bidder, Michigan Cat, of Grand Rapids, actually owes the road commission a rebate to the tune of $9,000. The actual cost of the grader is $191,000, but the trade-in value of all three amounts to $200,000. Michigan Cat representative Mark McClung said the hand-controlled graders have been out for two years, and several road commissions use them.
Road Commission Manager Louis Csokasy studied the five bids received for a new grader and recommended the Cat dealer which also offered the highest five-year buy back plan at $105,000. He said the driver will get a bird’s eye view of the work he is doing which is an advantage to see straight ahead at the road rather than standing up to see the blade.
McClung said training will be provided on site for 40 hours. It will also prevent fatigue and shoulder stiffness and/or back injuries to the drivers with a steering wheel.
This will total five road graders.
In other areas, Chief Engineer Joseph Bellina III reported that work will begin between Sept. 14 to 21 on the Redfield Street bridge repairs in Ontwa Township. It has a Nov. 1 target date to be done.
He said the Mason Street culvert installation will take two to three days to complete where there is high water near Lafferty Lake in Mason Township. The road has been closed because of water over the road but is open now. The installation will start about Sept. 17.
Bellina said the kick-off for the Marcellus Lakes Area Sewer system was Wednesday. He reported the contractor is shooting for a target date of Thanksgiving to have the torn-up roads repaved. He also reported a sweeper will go around and clean up the loose stones on the roads that are chipped and sealed.
Csokasy reported the road commission is going off its four 10-hour day work week back to eight-hour days now that the chip and seal projects are being wrapped up. “It’s a messy job. People don’t like to drive on stones,” he said. He also reported a spray program is underway to clear brush and weeds along sides of roads. A survey is being done on tree removal with 381 trees needing to be removed.
Csokasy said more than expected Michigan Transportation Funds were received, and the cash flow is in good shape for going into the new year.
Water Commissioner Bruce Campbell reported the status of three drain areas being worked on or considered, Glenwood Road and Dewey Lake Road in Wayne Township, Little Smith Lake in Pokagon Township and at Williamsville in Porter Township.