Vanway linear crushers help county and road builder improve gravel roadwork efficiency

Updated Aug 21, 2015

Vanway Crusher

A Montana county and an Idaho road construction firm are finding linear crushers, which crush and position rock in one pass, to be major money and time savers when working on gravel roads.

Mining, oil, timber and agriculture industries in the two states rely heavily on well-maintained gravel roads for reaching work areas and transporting products.

A look at the underside of a linear crusher.A look at the underside of a linear crusher.

Cory Connor, Sweet Grass County, Montana’s public works director, chose a Vanway International front-loader linear crusher to work on his roads.

“Previously, we used pits or when the haul got too far, we’d push shale rock on the road and run it over with vibratory rollers, trying to break it down to make a drivable surface,” Connor says. “The Vanway can uniformly crush rock to the size we need, and blend it with fines so we can just blade it, roll it out and call it a finished product.”

He adds gravel roads will develop rock pockets, washboard effects and potholes without blended crushed rock and fines. “Half your road will be a muddy mess, half will be nothing but rock because the fines will turn to mud or slime when really wet,” Connor says.

“When you lay crushed rock and fines in the right blend, you get a good, lasting driving surface that won’t easily dust up, kick off rocks, or allow water penetration and damage to the road surface.”

The cost savings are significant, he says, estimating a $5,000 to $7,000 per lane mile costs compared to roughly $20,000 per lane mile when hauling material from a pit.

“We should be able to do about 2-3 times the road repair we’d done previously with the same crew, while extending the lifespan of our roads and vibratory rollers,” Connor explains.

St. Maries, Idaho, road construction company Roadtech is using Vanway linear crushers to save its clients in Idaho and Washington big money as well. Operations Manager Travis Clark says using the equipment is saving up to 66 percent in costs.

“All that material that’s been pushed off the edge of the road for years — from ditches, berms, subgrade, oversize — becomes our lift material,” he adds. “Our linear crusher usually runs at a cost comparable to a pit crusher, but doesn’t need a pit, have set up costs, or need to be permitted.”

Clark says being able to work with material in place also is a big part of the cost savings.

“The farther away the road from the pit, the higher cost and the more remote the road, the fewer the pits,” Clark says. “That’s when your price per mile of gravel road goes through the roof. Fortunately, with a linear crusher your price stays constant. Without the material hauling cost, it costs the same per mile. This allows our Vanway linear crusher to do remote projects for the same price you would pay for a local project.”