Chicago suburb uses 6-ton hot box to move away from cold mix,
keep crews busy year-round and perform long-lasting repairs.
When Mike Mahoney, street supervisor for the Village of Winnetka, first began looking at asphalt repair equipment, he thought a 2-ton unit would fit the needs of 12,000 residents living the in Chicago suburb. But with more than 50 miles of roadway within the Village’s jurisdiction, and the nearest asphalt plant located 12 miles away, he determined they needed a bigger, 6-ton solution that could keep asphalt hot all day and reheat cookies for the occasional larger patching jobs.
“We looked at equipment for several years,” Mahoney said. “Volume was an issue, so having the 6-ton capacity was key. Being able to put it on a truck was huge, and the heat management system in the Falcon unit was superior to anything else we looked at.” With traffic, a round trip to the asphalt plant can take up to three hours, so the large capacity was a key factor in keeping crews productive all day. The unique grid design of the EvenTemp™ heat management system uses a series of engineered baffles to heat the asphalt evenly throughout a massive 6-ton hopper.
Winnetka is one of the most affluent communities in Illinois, and one of the wealthiest in the United States, with a median household income above $250,000. Residents have very high expectations for the quality of services in the historic village, which has been the setting for many Hollywood feature films, including Home Alone, Risky Business and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and his family were residents of Winnetka prior to moving to the Governor’s mansion in 2015, keeping the Village – and its roads – in the public spotlight.
“The Falcon unit provides a crisper patch with better appearance,” said Matt Deutsch, vice president at Midwest Paving Equipment, the local dealer in Glen Ellyn, Illinois that supports Winnetka’s equipment needs. By keeping asphalt hot all day at a consistent temperature, the Falcon hot box makes it easier to work with the material, providing time for proper site and pavement preparation to achieve a superior repair.
The Village of Winnetka uses its hot box unit year-round, including daily use in the summer months when crews are primarily focused on street maintenance. Much of the focus is on repairing and maintaining Green Bay Road, a high-traffic thoroughfare that connects the wealthy North Shore communities of Chicago.
“Quality was the main consideration when we purchased our Falcon machine,” said Mahoney. Winnetka is unique in the process that it uses to fill potholes. A dump truck is used to apply the base, and then the Falcon unit is used to provide a 1-1.5” finish coat for a stronger patch with a better appearance. “I love it for that,” he said.
One of the key advantages is the ability to load it on any of the three Village trucks via a hook lift system. This provides the flexibility Winnetka’s Public Works Department needs for its team of eight maintenance workers. In addition to routine and preventative maintenance of the Village’s roadways, Public Works is also responsible for refuse collection, street sweeping, leaf collection, spring cleanup, snow and ice control, and forestry services.
“Unfortunately, every truck had a different voltage output,” said Steve Konstanty, Central Region Sales Manager for Falcon Asphalt Repair Equipment. As a result, Winnetka was one of the first Falcon customers to pilot the patent-pending Voltage Indicator and Protector (VIP™) technology, which prevents the burner from operating below required voltage, protecting critical components from failure. “This was a huge improvement over previous systems,” added Mahoney.
“We like everything Falcon has shown us so far,” Mahoney said, who continues to partner with the municipality on new products and upgrades for its existing unit. With its 6-ton unit providing hot asphalt whenever and wherever needed, the Village of Winnetka is paving the way to smoother roads for years to come.