The U 500 is the Ideal Partner
In Austria, the Carinthian government’s Competence Centre 9 is responsible for building and maintaining Carinthia’s entire network of state roads, bridges and cycle paths, including buildings and structures connected to the network. It has now put a Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 500 with all-wheel steering, complete snow blower-cutters and two high-performance mowers into operation.
In order to improve road maintenance, an agreement has been concluded for the first time between the state of Carinthia and Großglockner Hochalpenstraßen AG (Grohag), governing joint use of the Unimog and “its” apparatus.
Georg Pappas Automobil AG, which is responsible for sales of Wörther implement carriers in Austria, cites as critical reasons for this particularly demanding use of the Unimog, its all-wheel-drive manoeuvrability, its high output per unit area and the environment, which plays a major role in this sensitive high-alpine region. “Thanks to the Euro 5 engine with an impressive 286 hp power rating, hydrostatic traction drive and economical fuel consumption, with the Unimog we are able to realize an important environmental aspect, while at the same time reliably guaranteeing even the most complex all-terrain use both on the road and off-road all through the year,” says Dipl.-Ing. (grad. eng.) Manfred Prentner from Competence Centre 9. “Downtimes and tool changeover times are minimal, which is a huge advantage for us.”
From spring through to autumn, extensive mowing and maintenance work is done along the roughly 2,746 km of roads in the road network in the state of Carinthia, together with a further 48 km in the area for which Grohag has responsibility.
The long winter period has left its mark on many roads, which must be quickly repaired by both partners and kept in good condition during the summer tourist season. On account of its low overall height and the fact it is equipped with a Unimog mowing door, a Mulag MRM 300 verge mower and a MHU 800 rear-boom mower, the U 500 is perfectly suited for mowing out to distances of up to 7.3 m, measured from the centre of the vehicle. Thorough mowing results are achieved both to the left and right of the road, and it can even be operated by just one person.
The mowers also work very close to bridge pillars and guide posts, since the automatic sensor guides the mower head around all obstacles. The mowing speed for the obstacle-avoidance movements is continuously adjustable. A quick-change device allow implements to be changed quickly for sewer flushing work, sweeper jobs and front-loading tasks.
The Unimog is used throughout the entire winter to remove the vast quantities of snow that accumulate in the Austrian Alps, often from as early as October right through to late May. Clearing, plowing and spreading salt, but also cutting and blowing, for example to remove side walls. The Unimog is equipped with an asymmetrically arranged Kahlbacher snow blower-cutter KFS 950/2600, which is equipped with a swivelling blower housing. This enables clearing widths of up to 2600 mm, clearing heights of up to 1300 mm and show ejection distances of up to 30 m.
Every year, Grohag has to remove up to 700,000 m3 of snow from roads and car parks. If this volume of snow were to be loaded onto a train, it would be roughly 200 km long.
Competence Centre 9, in Klagenfurt, is one of ten Competence Centres in Carinthia. Its fleet includes 55 Unimog implement carriers, 71 trucks and 126 light-duty vans.
Founded in the 1920s, Großglockner Hochalpenstraßen AG (Grohag) operates the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, a road that is 48 km long, has 36 sharp bends and at its highest point – the Edelweißspitze – reaches 2571 m. In addition to the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, the company also operates the Gerlos Alpine Road, the Nockalm Road, the Villach Alpine Road and the Goldeck Panoramic Road. Grohag employs more than 100 people during the summer months.
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