Paving the way

Feb. 1, 2006
WHEN OFFICIALS IN WALKER COUNTY, GEORGIA, decided to undertake more of the paving of county roads, the county realized it needed new, rugged dump trucks

WHEN OFFICIALS IN WALKER COUNTY, GEORGIA, decided to undertake more of the paving of county roads, the county realized it needed new, rugged dump trucks with greater hauling capacity that would deliver long-term value. The county found the trucks it wanted in the Kenworth T300 medium-duty conventional and dump bodies from Rogers Manufacturing Co.

The northwest Georgia county has expanded its paving capacity since it began paving part of the county's more than 700 miles of roads five years ago. To obtain Georgia State Department of Transportation paving contracts covering 60% of expenses, including the asphalt, the county had to meet the state's equipment guidelines.

“Under state DOT guidelines, we needed insulated dump beds,” said Rodney Parker, Walker County road department supervisor. “Our existing eight single-axle dump trucks, which we use for small paving jobs and hauling dirt and gravel, don't have insulated beds and can carry only 10 tons.

“Our Kenworth dealer stepped up and helped us spec the trucks to meet our needs for heavy hauling jobs. By spec'ing a tandem-axle Kenworth T300 with dump capacity of 20 tons, we're able to get state money for projects. We also save on labor costs because we don't have to hire as many drivers since the four tandem-axle trucks can carry as much as the eight smaller trucks.

“What we got from Kenworth was the best value for our money over the long term. They gave us a fair price, the engine and horsepower we wanted, and the transmission and gearing we needed.”

Parker said the Rogers bodies have stood up to the challenge.

“All we haul is rock and asphalt,” he said. “We don't use them as our dirt trucks. Dirt would cake up the edges. These are top-of-the-line. You can't really damage them.”

Kenworth received the 2005 JD Power and Associates awards for “Highest in Customer Satisfaction in the Medium Duty Conventional Truck and Medium Duty Dealer Service Segments.”

The county purchased four Kenworth T300s with the tandem-axle configuration. The trucks are equipped with Cummins 315-horsepower engines driven through Allison 5-speed automatic transmissions. The T300s can carry a payload of up to 20 tons of asphalt or 18½ tons of rock or dirt. The gearing emphasizes pulling power over speed, which is limited to 58 mph on the highway, according to Parker.

“Kenworth T300s have faced strenuous duty without any problems,” Parker said. “We had a project where we had to pave a 3½-mile stretch of road. We had to pull 18-ton loads up mountain roads with grades up to 20% and over horseshoe curves. It was no problem for the trucks.”

In addition to their rugged performance, the Kenworth T300s have delivered value when it comes to operating costs and maintenance.

“We've spent next to nothing on these trucks since we've owned them,” Parker said. “They are extremely cost effective when you factor in the initial price and maintenance costs. We expect the Kenworth T300s to last 10 years or more, and I don't know if our other dump trucks will last that long. The T300 fits our department truck motto of ‘Work with it, not on it.’”

Parker said the Kenworth T300s are also popular with his drivers.

“I have to break up fights between our drivers over who gets to drive the T300s,” he joked.