Cooperation: the state of Carinthia and Großglockner Hochalpenstraßen AG use the U 500 for road maintenance
Special equipment: high-performance mowers in the summer, new snow blower-cutters for winter maintenance and for clearing mountain passes
Environmentally friendly: the Unimog U 500 with Euro 5
Stuttgart/Klagenfurt – 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. This combination is designed to ensure that the constant maintenance work on the roads in the challenging high mountain region can be carried out reliably throughout the entire year.
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.
Speaking in recognition of the close cooperation, state governor Gerhard Dörfler says: "The Unimog increases the level of utilisation of the apparatus considerably because, as a result of the modernisation and the high-capacity utilisation of the fleet all year round, the costs are optimised for both contracting parties." Grohag Chairman Dr Johannes Hörl explains further: "For both partners this means an optimum use of funds, which could be followed by further examples in the future."
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 210 kW/286 hp power rating, hydrostatic traction drive and economical fuel consumption, with the Unimog we are able to realise 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."
High-performance mowing working in the summer months
From spring through to autumn, extensive mowing and maintenance work is announced along the roughly 2746 kilometres 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 professionally equipped with a Unimog mowing door, a Mulag verge mower MRM 300 and a rear-boom mower MHU 800, 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 and "gearlock", a manual turning gear for implements, allow implements to be changed quickly. That is particularly important because, in addition to verge embankment mowers and clear cutting work, the Carinthian state government and Grohag are also responsible for sewer flushing work, sweeper jobs and front-loading tasks as part of the Unimog’s day-to-day work – meaning that the U 500 implement carrier is used to full capacity throughout the entire summer.
No "winter break" for the Unimog
The Carinthian state government uses the Unimog throughout the entire winter service period 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, ploughing and spreading salt, but also cutting and blowing, for example to remove side walls – these are the Unimog’s typical jobs, which the orange-red all-rounder is predestined for during winter use. A new feature is that 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.
This equipment makes the Unimog’s features especially important for the all-year-round clearing of spring snow and mountain passes around the Grossglockner High Alpine Road. Every year, Grohag has to remove up to 700,000 ccm of snow from roads and car parks. If this volume of snow were to be loaded onto a goods train, the train would be roughly 200 km long and would stretch from Salzburg to Klagenfurt. To accomplish this mammoth task, in addition to the tried-and-trusted Wallack rotary plough system, Grohag now also relies on the potential and the active support of the U 500.
The Carinthian government’s Competence Centre 9
The state government of Carinthia includes 10 Competence Centres. Competence Centre 9, which is based in Klagenfurt, guarantees road safety in the whole of Carinthia with comprehensive planning, new construction and maintenance work and always acts with a particular consideration for the environment. The fleet at the Competence Centre includes 55 Unimog implement carriers, 71 trucks and 126 light-duty vans.
Großglockner Hochalpenstraßen AG (Grohag)
Founded in the 1920s, Großglockner Hochalpenstraßen AG 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 a proud 2571 m. It is also a modern tourism attraction, ranking as one of the top three points of interest in Austria with approximately 900,000 visitors a year. In addition to the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, the company also operates the Gerlos Alpine Road with the WasserWunderWelt aquatic theme park in Krimml, the Nockalm Road, the Villach Alpine Road and the Goldeck Panoramic Road. Grohag is one of the most important economic factors in Carinthia and employees more than 100 people during the summer months.