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!