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Surface Mining Technology Used on New England Highway

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The excessive pavement hardness experienced throughout sections of the New England Highway, near Murrurundi in New South Wales, resulted in unexpected time delays, increased difficultly with heavy traffic flows through the work area as a result of the side-cast material and significant damage to profiling and stabilising plant teeth and blocks.

The conventional approach to this challenge involves pre-milling and side-casting of the top layer, pre-milling of the bottom layer, replacement of side-cast material and then stabilising to full-depth. The disadvantages of this approach are that it is costly, time consuming to contractor, client and public, would create traffic control issues on this site and expose more material than necessary to the open environment.

The conventional approach to this challenge involves pre-milling and side-casting of the top layer, pre-milling of the bottom layer, replacement of side-cast material and then stabilising to full-depth. The disadvantages of this approach are that it is costly, time consuming to contractor, client and public, would create traffic control issues on this site and expose more material than necessary to the open environment.

After considering the drawbacks of the conventional approach the operations team carefully researched what other plant options might be available to pre-mill the pavement to fulldepth in one pass. It was discovered that there are surface mining machines used primarily in mining operations that have significantly higher power and cutting depth than a conventional road profiler.

After consulting with a number of industry experts AARR procured a 1,000HP Wirtgen Surface Miner that could profile to a depth of 600mm in one pass to a width of 2.5m.

This was the first time a Surface Miner had been used on the RMS road network in NSW.

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