Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Minnesota Department of Transportation

Maintenance Research

Snow and Ice

District 8

Craig Gertsema

Project Cost:
NTREC - $68,954.96
District - $20,106.64

Start Date:

End Date:
Completed Research
  • Mattracks 2
  • Mattracks 1
  • Mattracks

Project Description: Over the years, dozers have been the desired tool for pushing snow drifts back along the highways. While dozers work well, they are limited by the drivability between the drift locations. By trying these tracks that enable such drivability, we could transform a piece of equipment that would allow it to be multifunctional year-round. We could take the tractor out for the day without loading and unloading it. Last year, District 8 spent more than $250,000 hiring out dozers, which could be reduced by using these tracks.

Purpose: The primary issue we are looking to address is snow and ice. Each year, we rent or hire snow dozers. This project would help lower that cost by allowing us to expand the use of our equipment. While our primary test would be to try a dozer blade on the tractor, we could potentially expand this even further by purchasing a blower for the tractor. These tracks would allow the tractor to float over the snow and push the drifts away from the roadway. Afterwards, it would be able to drive down the road to the next location without needing to be loaded and unloaded (like a dozer does) thus providing the operator with a more efficient process.

Test Procedure: The district evaluated the Mattracks at numerous truck stations. We looked at cost savings as well as quality and safety improvements over an 18-month period. The district also looked at other options for the tracks’ usage to determine versatility.

Conclusions: The tracks just spun out and wouldn't push snow up an incline, but it worked on flat surfaces fairly well. The blade that came with it was not a six-way blade, so the biggest complaint involved the lack of control for the digging depth from one side to the other, which resulted in the unit rising over some snow or digging in too far on one side. The fact that operators didn't have to load or unload was a good thing, but some thought that the vibration in the cab when going down the road from one work area to another was excessive. It was also noted that many of the bolts holding the whole track assemblies together came loose multiple times and had to be checked frequently. A big positive was the ability to push drifts back and make some snow fences, making roadways safer for the traveling public.

Recommended For Implementation:     Yes     No
Yes, however the combination of the tracks and a non-intelligent variable transmission is not recommended as it makes operating the unit more cumbersome. Users should also consider putting a six-way blade on the front.

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