In the years since Goodloe and Earle Yancey sold their first tractors to Troup and Ben Hill counties, the company they built has sold thousands of machines to the 159 Georgia counties. Every county road in Georgia has been built by and/or maintained by a Yancey Caterpillar machine.
In farthest south Georgia, the state’s fifth-largest county maintains hundreds of miles of dirt roads with Cat® motor graders. Charlton County commissioner Jesse Crews says, “We have a lot of dirt roads, so we need a lot of motor graders. Every day we’re grading roads somewhere. It takes a lot of preventive maintenance, and when you have something you need every day, you want it to crank up every time.”
Charlton County is located between the Okefenokee Swamp and the Atlantic Ocean (much of the county is actually in the swamp), and has two major rivers, the St. Mary’s River, which divides Georgia and Florida, and the Satilla River to the north. “When you live on rivers, you get a lot of water,” Crews says. The county uses side blades to cut and maintain drainage ditches.
Eighty miles to the west, in Berrien County, crews grade thirty-five to forty miles of unpaved roads every day with six Cat® 12M motor graders and an H Series motor grader. Like Charlton County, Berrien has mostly clay in the northern part of the county and primarily sand in the south. The M Series machine joystick controls help operators react to the changing composition of county roadways, from coarse to normal to fine.
“Clay is a little easier to maintain, but it all has to do with weather,” explains Rob Hawkins, assistant public works director. “If it’s wet, the clay is a little slicker, a little harder to handle. Sand is a little heavier when it’s wet.”
Four of the motor graders are equipped with slopers to pull washed-out dirt from ditches to the roadway.
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