|Southwest District maintenance crews are using a Jarraff arm saw to trim trees on Stone County Route 76 near Reeds Spring. (Photo/David Mitchell)
Southwest District maintenance crews are trying out a new piece of equipment that makes the winter job of tree trimming safer and more cost effective.
Crews in the Southwest, Central and Southeast districts are testing an all-terrain tree trimmer made by Jarraff Industries.
Central Office is paying for each district to rent the machine for two months.
Tree trimming is a normal winter maintenance activity, says Assistant District Maintenance Engineer Bob Becker.
“Opening the canopy over the roadway lets the sun get through, aiding in snow-melting,” said Becker, “and keeps limbs out of the roadway during wind and ice storms.”
He says it can also be a dangerous and slow operation. Crews using scissor lifts or bucket trucks are constantly being lifted to reach the brush to be cleared using chainsaws.
“The nice thing about (using the Jarraff saw) is no one is physically cutting, no one is up in the air,” said Becker.
The saw operator is in a cab, remotely operating a circular saw at the end of an arm and driving the vehicle along the highway.
In addition to safety, Becker says the operation is also faster. Crews can cover up to a mile and a half a day with the arm saw as opposed to about a half a mile a day using a bucket truck.
Renting the equipment is also a benefit.
“By renting we always have a good piece of equipment and it doesn’t sit around unused for six months out of the year,” says Becker.
Central Office maintenance staff got the idea from the Ohio Department of Transportation while attending a multi-state meeting recently.
“We’ll evaluate the equipment and cost,” Becker said, “but our initial reaction is we’ll do this again next year.”