Construction companies might be tempted to delay spending money and labour on optimising haul roads – but in the long run, a poorly maintained or utilised haul road will end up costing money.

Good haul road practices

Haul roads are essential for mining and many construction operations. To haul material from one area to another, a stable and accessible road is needed.

The layout and planning of haul roads is important. You don’t want these roads taking unnecessarily long or inefficient routes.

Once haul roads are in place, it’s also important to check their condition regularly.

When checking the condition of a haul road, look out for the following:

  • the road must be free of puddles, potholes, ruts and gullies
  • passing room should be adequate
  • corner radius must allow safe operation at high speed
  • no spillage or debris should be on the road
  • there should be no rubber deposits on tight, rocky turns
  • high braking force shouldn’t be necessary on corners.

Also check that, given the condition of the road, expected road speeds can be achieved and maintained safely.

Haul road maintenance

Without constant maintenance, haul roads quickly develop potholes, corrugation and accumulate debris. Proper haul road maintenance equals saving money on truck maintenance. Tyres, wheels and suspension can all take damage from potholes, debris or unnecessarily long routes.

For example, haul road truck tyres are exceptionally expensive, so it makes sense to get as many hours out of them as possible. Through thorough and regular haul road maintenance, a coal mine in the US was able to increase the life of their truck tyres from 5000 hours to more than 11,000 hours.

Managing truck speeds

How trucks use a haul road can be just as important as the condition of the road. Optimising routes and truck speeds can save money by increasing productivity. GPS data from the trucks can be used to predict and streamline traffic flow.

For example, some mining sites have experimented with having trucks slow down at intersections rather than come to a complete stop. This saves time, fuel and lessens wear and tear on their trucks’ brakes. Proximity awareness technology was also used to ensure the safety of the truck operators.

Here are just some of the ways that efficiency on haul roads can be affected:

  • inexperienced truck operators
  • unnecessary stopping at intersection points
  • reduced speed while following other trucks
  • bad road conditions
  • one-way roads.

Graders for haul road maintenance

A grader is essential for haul road maintenance. It’s used for maintaining the drainage system, clearing debris and spills and maintaining a smooth road surface.

Grading haul roads is particularly important during the rainy season to eliminate ruts and puddles. This helps prevent haul trucks from churning up the road surface by making it less slippery.

If the road surface becomes corrugated or develops potholes, it may be necessary to loosen the existing surface and reshape it. As long as the surface is thick enough, it can be ripped with a grader’s tynes and then reshaped and compacted. 

Rebuilt motor graders from KH Plant

Investing is a grader makes a lot of sense for on-going haul road maintenance. However, a brand new grader is a significant expense.

At KH Plant, we specialise in restoring Caterpillar 140G140H and 140K motor graders and components to as-new condition – so you can get the benefits of a new motor grader at a fraction of the cost of a new machine. Contact us online or call us on +27 83 274 4882 for more information.

Contact us for more information