Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gotta Get a Gator Getter!

You've seen it before: The slow moving truck with a large flashing arrow pushing you into the next lane. The laborious progression as crews hop from the truck to retrieve the random tire tread, couch cushions, laundry basket, branches or the hapless deer who crossed too soon. It's the debris removal crew snaking through the city, keeping MoDOT routes safe. Now we're testing a new tool that could make that process faster and safer.

It's the Gator Getter! 

Custom built to fit MoDOT's larger truck, this innovative machine scoops up trash while the vehicle travels with traffic at a comfortable 45 to 50 mph. There are only four in existence, and this is the only one in the U.S.

Because the Gator Getter operates in the midst of traffic, MoDOT no longer has to provide traffic control or close a lane while removing debris from the highway.  That means fewer delays for motorists and safer conditions for workers. 

If only I could get a smaller version for my living room!

During the testing phase, MoDOT crews are offering feedback to the company to make the product stronger and more versatile to handle the array of trash types and sizes. The next version will likely have a different style of blade and heavier body.

MoDOT crews pick up debris year-round, which can range from general car trash to pieces of furniture. One of the most common items - tires and tread - is actually separated and turned over to Missouri Vocational Enterprises so it can be shredded and reused as tire-derived fuel for power plants.

Find more details about this innovation below and watch the Gator Getter in action!


jrot said...

it looks like the blade that actually contacts the ground will tear up already bad roads, or ruin the already becoming bad roads that have all just been repaved, and it looks completely unusable on a bumpy or very torn up road, hope this isnt what my tax money is going for. it also looks like it will be hard for the driver to see adding to the cost in replacing the truck and the possibly dead taxpayers car as well. this may work in a town with perfect roads but typical of MODOT they have no idea whats going on on the roads or what we need.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't look like it "contacts" nearly as bad as plow blades, and I've seen snow left behind by those blades. I doubt this one will damage the road. (But the road might damage the blade.) Look at 0:30 to 0:45. The diver has clear view until the last second. At 0:55 the chase car is less than a second ahead of the driver, and they can clearly see each other. Night time vision limits at highway speeds are far more dangerous than this, so are workers having to stand on the pavement next to drivers who "have no idea whats going on on the roads."

Anonymous said...

Did you watch the video? The "blade" appears to be mainly a metal ramp on springs (to give with the road or rise) that serves only as a means to serve as the access point for debris to fly up into the container. Per the vision problem, it's the width of the truck, which covers most of the lane. The driver need only spot the trash ahead, put the device in a down position and drive inside the lane. Given the amount of tire tread and what not I do find on the road, I'm glad my tax money is going toward it.

Now, if you want to complain about something, feel free to do so about the interchange at H highway and 63. There are busier intersections on 63 that could use such an interchange, but apparently it's some legislature's pet project in a session where MODOT is scrambling to keep every dime they can.

Anonymous said...

@ jrot....So its better to put a person out in that lane and put them in harms way. MODOT has a better idea than you do. With your mindset they should also stop plowing and salting. Those two things do far more damage than this 'gator getter.' The folks in MODOT spend way more time on the highways than you ever will. They know what is going on. But..., since you have such great ideas maybe you can come up with a better way to pick up tire treads off the road without putting a human in the traffic lane. Go ahead lets hear it.................

Anonymous said...

Too bad it doesn't work like a trash truck that could lift the bin over the cab & empty it into the dump bed. As it stands now, it would have to be stopped every few miles to empty. But, it appears that it could save $. I just hope it doesn't hit a big pothole or uneven pavement.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that jrot has never worked on I44. Anytime someone says 'it looks like', you must be an armchair commentator.