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 over $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 dozing of snow. 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 a more efficient process.

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

Conclusions: In the Marshall TS, we found out that it wouldn't push snow up an incline. The tracks just spun out and it wouldn't work that way. It worked on flat surfaces fairly well for pushing snow. The blade that came with it was not a 6-way blade, so one could not control the digging depth from one side to the other and, therefore, it either tends to rise over some snow or dig in too far on one side. That was the biggest complaint of the unit. The fact that you didn't have to load, or unload was a good thing, but some operators thought that the vibration in the cab from going down the road from one work area to another was excessive. One other thing that was brought up from the Hutchinson TS was a lot of the bolts holding the whole track assemblies together came loose multiple times and that had to be checked quite often. A big positive was that by being able to push drifts back and making some snow fences, we were able to make roadways safer for the traveling public.

Recommended For Implementation:     Yes     No
Yes, however the combination of the tracks and a non IVT transmission is not recommended as it makes operation of the unit more cumbersome. Also consider putting a blade put on the front that is a 6-way blade.

Related Materials: