This story is based in 2 counties located in east, central Alberta, Canada. Two counties with an area of over 4,285 square miles, or 2,742,400 acres. There may be more than 2 hills, but not many more. This is flat Canadian prairie.
Weather conditions in the area can often be rather inhospitable. Temperatures range from minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit (-46 C) in January to plus 95 degrees Fahrenheit (+37 C) in the summer. There is usually a harsh drying wind in the summer and a brutal, bone-chilling winter wind. Precipitation, a combination of rain and snow, can reach as high at 74 inches (187 cm) annually.
Between the counties there is a population of approximately 8,000 people and over 3,320 miles (5,343 km) of roads, of which less than ten percent are paved. The challenge… keep these roads passable through the snows of winter, the muds of spring, the rains of summer and the frosts of autumn, keep them passable 365 days a year! The above… ample reason for 22 motor graders. Motor graders that must perform!
The County of Two Hills
Willy Derda has operated a variety of road construction equipment for over four decades and motor graders for The County of Two Hills for the past eighteen years. A quiet, humble man, he spoke with great enthusiasm when asked about the Volvo G976 All Wheel Drive Motor Grader he has been operating for the past few months. "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 is great. Great visibility. Quiet. Comfortable both summer and winter. It's easy to maintain. It's great for snow plowing… I just like it!" Sincere words of praise from a veteran motor grader operator.
The Volvo G976 All Wheel Drive Motor Grader with a blade down force of 21,574 lb. (9,776 kg) and a maximum blade pull of 36,679 lb. (16,635 kg) can get the job done. The low-emission, turbocharged Volvo diesel engine provides maximum power output of 265 hp (198 kW) and when coupled with the optional Volvo HTE1160
transmission with 11 forward and six reverse speeds 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 insecure footing.
Raymond Bouchard, Public Works Manager for the county, is charged with keeping the roads open and drivable for the 4500 residents of the county. "We purchased our first Volvo (motor grader) and we are pretty impressed so far. The operators like its performance. The maintenance staff is pleased with its reliability. It's terrific for snow plowing. It's a great machine. The value is there."
The County of Two Hills also does their own road construction as well as grading the miles of gravel, dirt and oiled surface roads and once again the Volvo G976 shines. Bouchard and his operators are pleased with the power and performance of the all-wheel drive when working on heavy-duty road repairs or road re-construction. "It really holds the slope when cutting. It's got good weight for blading. It's a strong machine."