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Two Rokbak articulated haulers get work done on mega U.S. pipeline project

An excavator fills an articulated hauler up with dirt
A Rokbak RA30 articulated hauler Rokbak

When Utah-based contractor BHI was awarded low bid on a three-mile stretch of canal essential to the irrigation around the largest city in Uintah County, in the north-eastern part of the state, they knew that extensive excavation and backfill would be on the cards and that it would require the most robust and reliable equipment.

A hive of activity in the Beehive State

BHI has been tasked by Uintah Water Conservancy District to enclose a 78-inch high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe across a vast portion of the Steinaker Service Canal near the city of Vernal. Owing to a water shortage over the past several years, the Uintah Water Conservancy District has been working to improve provision to the surrounding area, with the Steinaker Service Canal Enclosure Project. The existing channel is being converted into a pressurized pipeline to provide a firm water supply to land in the surrounding Ashley Valley, with the aim to minimize and even eliminate loss of water through seepage and evaporation, maximizing the amount of water available for irrigation purposes. According to BHI, upon completion, the canal enclosure will be the largest diameter HDPE pipe installation in the U.S.

BHI is self-performing the entire scope of the project, which includes site preparations, excavation, pipe installation, backfill, and restoration of the canal. To handle the large-scale earthmoving, BHI needed articulated haulers that would be up to the challenge, day after day, in an intense six-month timeline.

The RA30s are tasked with transporting rock and rubble to excavate the area in order to install the pipe. Rokbak

Operating with ease

Rokbak dealer Rasmussen Equipment, of Salt Lake City, supplied two RA30s to BHI on a rental-purchase option in September 2022. The haulers were received so positively on-site that the purchase was completed before the end of the year.

The RA30s are tasked with transporting rock and rubble to excavate the area in order to install the pipe, later they will support the subsequent backfill. With the capacity to transport a payload of up to 28 tonnes (30.9 tons), a maximum engine power of 276 kW (370 hp), a heaped capacity of 17.5 cubic metres (22.9 cubic yards), and a maximum torque of 1880 Nm @ 1400 rpm, the Rokbak RA30 can be relied for operation in all weather types, transporting loads effectively and efficiently with ideal traction in difficult terrain, and combating steep inclines with ease. 

"The RA30 is a top-performing machine," says BHI operator Reese Shultz, who has already clocked up over 2,000 hours alongside colleague Dustin Gardner in the two RA30s since work commenced in September. "It's fuel efficient, powerful, and with features like the tailgate helping to maximize load retainage as well as multiple reverse gears enabling quick cycle times, it's been designed for productivity. It also has excellent mobility, it's relatively narrow (10 feet 6 inches at its maximum width) which is hugely beneficial in confined job site spaces."

"One of the first things I noticed when I started using the RA30 was that it has proper visibility, from a comfy seat, in a quiet cab, and the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system works really well," explains Dustin. "It's a real solid ride and it's comfortable to operate over various ground conditions."

Cushioned bump stops on the steering cylinders reduce strain on the operator over an extensive shift and a 45 degree steering angle at either side creates a turning radius of just 27 feet, 9 inches (8,470 mm), resulting in ideal manoeuvrability. There is a spacious, ROPS/FOPS-compliant, pressurized cab. Smoother gear shifting accentuates these levels of comfort, alongside other benefits like faster cycle times, lower fuel consumption, and reduced carbon emissions.

Exceeding expectations

Rasmussen Equipment has provided Utah contractors with equipment solutions for over 75 years. That wealth of experience combined with the RA30's capabilities for taking on the toughest tasks and terrain has proven to be an ideal combination.

"It's always easy to work with BHI because of the professionalism and knowledge throughout the organization," says Rasmussen Equipment's Sales Representative Brandon Dorney, who has worked closely with BHI for many years and facilitates the equipment support provided by Rasmussen Equipment. "We enjoy keeping up with the demands of BHI and coming up with solutions to individual projects. When BHI outlined this particular job with its challenging earthmoving aspects, we knew they needed Rokbak haulers."

With the Steinaker Service Canal Enclosure Project due to run until April 2023 and a huge amount of groundwork still to be done, BHI expects to put the RA30s through their paces for a good while yet. 

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