Excavators and backhoe loaders are among the commonest sights on Australian building sites. Many of them are not able to be transported legally on the public road, however. Even those that are roadworthy cannot be taken more than a mile or so before it becomes extremely inefficient to continue to drive them under their own power. In such cases, it is best to turn to a professional transport company to load them up and take them to a new site for you. If you are transporting an excavator or another heavy construction vehicle between sites, then what do you need to bear in mind?
Choose the Right Vehicle For the Job
Low loaders are suited to most excavators and other mobile digging equipment because you can drive them straight on to the back with nothing more than a set of ramps. However, you must always check that the truck and trailer you are planning to use is adequately sized for the job. If your excavator's tracks are hanging over the side, for example, then you may find that you don't have sufficient grip. Equally, under-powered trucks will struggle on the road—especially on hills—if they have a heavy load like an excavator to shift. Consult your transport company if you have any doubts about the suitability of the type of vehicle being proposed.
Take Care When Loading
Severe damage can be caused to excavators as they are loaded onto the back of trucks. You are often in a driving position, which means it is very easy to miss ramps. This means you may end up sliding off a low loader when preparing your excavator. It is always best to work with at least two people to assist you when loading so that you get the construction equipment onto its trailer safely the first time. Avoid loading in a cramped yard, and use a space that affords you a good run-up to the trailer so you can fine-tune your approach.
Secure Your Excavator Before Setting Off
Never allow your transport company to drive off with your excavator or backhoe loader until you have lowered the bucket. This keeps it out of the way and lowers the centre of gravity, which will make transit safer. Chocks should be placed at each of the vehicle's wheels to the front and the rear. Remember that this applies to tracks, as well, since even heavy track-driven construction vehicles can slide back and forth when being transported. Finally, tie the vehicle down to the trailer. Some excavators have chain slots that are specifically for this purpose.