In the flat Canadian prairie, 22 Volvo motor graders are keeping roads passable through inhospitable weather conditions.
In east-central Alberta, Canada, the County of Two Hills and the neighbouring Flagstaff County have over 3,320 miles (5,343 km) of roads to be maintained, of which less than ten percent are paved. The challenge is to keep these roads passable through the snow in winter, the mud in spring, the rain in summer and the frost in autumn for the 8,000 residents.
Local weather conditions can be fairly inhospitable. Temperatures range from minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit (-46 C) in January - accompanied by a chilling winter wind - to over 95 degrees Fahrenheit (+37 C) in the summer - with a harsh dry wind. And precipitation, both rain and snow, can reach as high at 74 inches (187 cm) annually.
The County of Two Hills
Public Works Manager Raymond Bouchard is responsible for maintaining the roads in the County of Two Hills.
"We purchased our first Volvo G976 motor grader a few months ago and we are pretty impressed so far. The operators like its performance, the maintenance staff are pleased with its reliability and it's terrific for snow ploughing - it's a great machine," he says
Bouchard's biggest problem was convincing senior operator Willy Derda, who has 18 years experience operating motor graders, to try the Volvo. "He didn't want to leave his usual motor grader," says Bouchard. "But when I convinced him to try the Volvo he became a big fan and now he won't go back."
When asked about the Volvo G976 All Wheel Drive motor grader, Willy says: "I like this grader. It's got lots of power. I love its short turning radius, especially on some of these narrow roads. The cab has great visibility and it's quiet and comfortable in both summer and winter!"
The Volvo G976 motor grader has a blade down force of 21,574 lb. (9,776 kg) and a maximum blade pull of 36,679 lb. (16,635 kg). The low-emission, turbocharged Volvo diesel engine provides a maximum power output of 265 hp (198 kW). When coupled with the optional Volvo HTE1160 transmission, with 11 forward and six reverse speeds, it is economical and versatile with precision control at low-speed, efficient travel at high speed and greater accuracy in the working range.
The All Wheel Drive mode provides more traction and control for an extra 8,500 lb. (3,855 kg) of blade pull and high-speed capability for operation in heavy snow or unstable footing.
Bouchard and his operators are pleased with the power and performance of the All Wheel Drive mode when working on heavy-duty road repairs or road re-construction. "It really holds the slope when cutting," says Bouchard. "It's got a good weight and it's a strong machine."