9 ways to ensure haul roads are an asset — not a liability
When haul roads are kept in top condition, trucks run faster and more safely, cycle times improve and more ore is produced. Good road conditions also reduce truck maintenance, lower fuel costs and reduce tire damage.
Here are the top nine things you can do to ensure your haul roads are your site’s greatest asset — instead of your greatest liability.
- Design them right. The best haul roads have crowned straight sections, superelevated curves, safety berms and drainage ditches on both sides.
- Ensure proper grade. The ideal grade is between 8 and 10 percent with low rolling resistance of 2 percent or less.
- Watch bench and dump areas. In the load zone, ensure the floor is smooth, debris is cleared away so trucks don’t drive over rocks, and that trucks are able to leave under full, continuous acceleration. In the dump zone, ensure the floor is smooth and that trucks are able to enter at high speed and reverse to dump.
- Pay attention to road width. Roads should be three times the width of the widest truck, so tires aren’t bumping into the safety berms or dropping into ditches.
- Use the proper material to prepare and maintain the road bed. If the surface under the haul road is soft or moist, rolling resistance is high and tires are allowed to sink — which slows production and can wear away the rubber from the tires.
- Keep them clean. Making sure haul roads are free from rocks and other debris should be a top priority on every mine site. Haul road should be free of puddles, potholes, ruts and gullies, and spillage should be removed quickly to save tires and allow trucks to travel at their expected speeds.
- Keep them watered. It’s important to keep dust down to improve safety and allow trucks to run at the desired speed. However, watch for excess water because it increases rolling resistance, which slows down the machine and is hard on tires.
- Educate operators. Motor grader operators need training in how to properly maintain haul roads. Truck operators need to be aware of how their driving habits have an impact on cycle times and tires. Operators should be trained to watch loads and speeds, check tire pressures, be aware of rocks and debris, and be careful on turns.
- Make the investment. Haul road maintenance sometimes takes a back seat to moving material. But if poorly maintained roads lead to damaged tires, damaged trucks or reduced cycle times, the result is lost production.