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Fall 2013

Snow be gone

A smart solution for clearing snow more efficiently in limited-access areas

A Bobcat S570 skid-steer loader helps the City of Horace clear snow in winter.

A Bobcat S570 skid-steer loader helps the City of Horace clear snow in winter.

Like many of the towns surrounding Fargo, N.D., the City of Horace has experienced dramatic population growth in the past 10 years. In fact, the population of Horace has more than doubled, yet it retains its small-town feel, with the bigger city of Fargo just next door.

Officials with the City of Horace Public Works Department retaliate against Mother Nature with a new snow removal solution — a Bobcat® S570 skid-steer loader, light material bucket and angle broom — to keep streets and sidewalks free of snow and ice.

Three years ago, Ben Walock joined the City’s small yet growing Public Works Department after working as a diesel engine mechanic. He understood the mechanics of compact and heavy equipment, and knew how to operate machinery. Today, Walock is leveraging that knowledge to help purchase dependable and comfortable compact equipment to battle snow. He worked with city officials and eventually purchased the S570 skid-steer loader from Bobcat of Fargo (Swanston Equipment).

“We’re planning to upgrade every year so we always have a brand-new machine with full warranty,” he says. “Then we’ll always have the most current equipment and won’t need to replace items like tires.”

Snow removal in limited areas

Needing a smaller machine for snow removal in tight-access areas, the S570 skid-steer loader excels at clearing snow from cul-de-sacs and sidewalks, especially with its two-speed travel option.

“We have seven cul-de-sacs and sidewalks that we clear for the City, as well as the fire hall and around our shop,” he says, “and we’ll do all of it with the Bobcat skid-steer loader and an 80-inch snow and light material bucket. We can get into places that we just can’t with larger equipment. It’s so much easier to see the bucket and see what you’re doing with the Bobcat loader, and we can do it faster thanks to two-speed.”

Part of the reason for the improved visibility is the cab-forward design of the S570. Integrated in M-Series loaders, the cab was moved forward to make it much easier for operators to see the work area in front of them, as well as providing improved all-around visibility. The cab is 10 percent bigger, too.

“Another operator and I are bigger guys, so we wanted a cab with plenty of room, and the S570 has it,” Walock says. “When it snows, our crew may be running for 30 hours straight and we wanted a very comfortable skid-steer loader. We got just what we needed.”

Walock says that a must-have for the S570 was Selectable Joystick Controls.

“The controls are so smooth. It’s one of the nicest skid-steer loaders that I’ve ever operated. The machine reacts when you want it and is easy to control,” he says.

A worthwhile investment for year-round projects, the Horace Public Works Department operates the loader with a 68-inch low-profile bucket in warmer seasons for dirt work, such as backfilling after a water main break, instead of hiring a local contractor to perform the work.

“We’re expecting continued growth because Horace is a quiet atmosphere, a great place to live, and Fargo is just next door, with many benefits of a big city,” he concludes.