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  1. #1
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    Trail building project using excavator

    Hi All

    I have secured fundings for a 6km trail building project here in Iceland. We have additionaly approx 4kms of trail building going on within the same trail system that is based on manual labour and volenteers.

    The excavator that will be used is a jcb 8032. a 3,5 tonnes machine with approx. 1,6m track width. Do any of you have experience building narrow trails using a machine of this size. I would appreciate to get some tips and hints how to dress the path of the excavator to narrow the trail. We have normal buckets available and a tilting grading bucket. Land is for the most parts rather soft, but a 3 km section is quite rocky with a significant grade and will be a full bench cut.
    Finishing of the trail will be with crusher fine. distributed with the excavator with a tickness around 10cm and 50 to 100 cm width.
    We have never built trails with an excavator before, so hints and tips will be greatly appreciated. We are currently clearing the corridor (chainsaw work), and will start digging in a months time.

    Johan

  2. #2
    Builder of Trails
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    Johan,

    The best advice I can give you is to ensure that the machine operator fully understands trail design and construction. You can have the most skilled operator and end up with an unsustainable mess.

    As far as building narrow width trail with an ex, cut the bench to whatever width you need and use the spoils to build a false bench on which the outside track runs. Once you've constructed the backslope and raked the spoils off the trail with the blade or bucket, use the bucket to knock the false bench away. Of course, you should only do this if you don't have to take the machine out the way it came in!

    Also, cut the corridor high enough and back enough on the uphill and downhill sides to allow the boom to fully function without having to avoid the canopy, branches, and trunks. Twice now I've broken a hydraulic fitting on the boom on a tree.

    Lastly, if it's super steep, be mindful of the back end of your ex. If you try to turn more than, say, 45 degrees away from the tread, your back end will run into the backslope, especially if you haven't cut it yet. If you have a zero-swing machine, you'll be okay.


    Good luck! I wish I could be there to do the job for you!

    Dewayne

  3. #3
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    excavator trail building

    Thanks, thats some good advice. The operator have no experience building trails, but he is forced to read the IMBA manual, and i guess i will be sitting in the machine nagging away the whole time! The trail is good designed and flagged, and we will go through the whole trail bits by bits while we build. Really good point in knocking down the bench in the finishing process. We need a fairly wide corridor for driving in aggregate using a yanmar tracked dumper with 160cm width. We will spread the aggregate using the ex. and then finish off the bench. I will update this tread when we start using the machine. We are still cleaning the corridor of trees and branches. it was really dense unthinned trees. And yes, we have a zero tail swing machine.

  4. #4
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    Minimum corridor width

    Dewayne, one more question: How wide should we cut the corridor? the excavator is approx 160cm (5 feet) and we have currently been cutting the trail corridor to average 2.4m (8 feet). You think it should be sufficient?
    Johan

  5. #5
    Builder of Trails
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joho
    Dewayne, one more question: How wide should we cut the corridor? the excavator is approx 160cm (5 feet) and we have currently been cutting the trail corridor to average 2.4m (8 feet). You think it should be sufficient?
    Johan
    Johan,

    How quickly will the foliage grow back? How steep is the terrain? Who are the trail users?

    The corridor width will be determined by these questions. Do you think 2.4 meters is wide enough? That leaves only 0.4 meters on either side of the trail to maneuver the machinery.

    Dewayne

  6. #6
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    Well, foilage growback is not a huge problem as iceland is blessed with the slowest growth in the world. Trees are 4-10meters along the trail and it will be a multiuse trail for mtb, x-country ski and hikers. but it is designed mainly with mountain bikers in mind. Terrain is not very steep. side slopes are mostly in the 10-20 degree range and it will not be a significant bench cut and hence not too much material to move away from the trail tread. we will see and we will definately keep the chainsaws idle...

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