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Cost of Earthwork

cubic, cents, scraper, grader, soil, yard and yards

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COST OF EARTHWORK. Of necessity, general estimates of the cost of earthwork can not be very exact, since the cost will vary with the condition of the soil, the wages, the hours constituting a day's work, the relative amount paid for supervision, the effective ness of the supervision, the facilities for preventing one part of the crew from interfering with the work of another, the proper adjust ment of the number of shovelers per cart * or of scraper holders to scrapers, etc. The following data have been checked by engineers and contractors of wide experience and are believed to be reason ably reliable.

In the analysis of the cost of earthwork to follow, the price for a man will be assumed to be $1.50 per day of 10 hours, and that for a team and driver $3.50 per day. These are the usual wages paid by contractors, which are the prices to be considered here; for if the work is done under the labor-tax system ordinary estimates will not apply (see § 52-53), and if the farmer hires out to do the work of a teamster he usually demands the ordinary pay for that class of work. These are about the prices that have been estab lished for a number of years in a number of states. Of course wages may be a little more when work is being rushed, or a little less when work is Scarce.


with Scraping Grader. In prairie soil, two men and four horses with a scraping grader can build a mile of road 36 feet wide from inside to inside of ditch with a crown of 6 inches at the center after being compacted, for $30 to $40, which is equivalent to If or 2} cents per cubic yard. The first is the cost when there is no sod, and the last when there is sod. The cost for a crown of 12 inches will be about $70 per mile, or 11 cents per cubic yard. The above prices do not include interest, or wear and tear of grader, which would be about 1 cent per cubic yard. The total cost for scraping-grader work in prairie soil usually varies between 1/ and 21 cents per cubic yard.

In hard soil requiring an extra team and hence another driver, add one half to the above prices.

Cost with Elevating Grader.

The manufacturers guar antee that the elevating grader shown in Fig. 35, page 110, will deposit 1,000 cubic yards per day of 10 hours; and a number of testi monials are printed showing that 1,400 to 1,600 cubic yards is not unusual. This machine is guaranteed to load into wagons 600 yards

per day, which is a cost of about 3 cents per cubic yard; and the manufacturers claim that it can be done for about half this sum.

A contractor in sandy prairie soil with fourteen horses and four men loaded 100 cubic yards per hour as a maximum and 60 as an average, the cost being as follows: 7 two-horse teams at $2.50 each plus 2 drivers at $2.00 each plus 1 operator at $2.00 and 1 at $2.50 —$29.50, which for an average of 600 cubic yards is per, clay equiv alent to 4.9 cents per cubic yard. Ordinarily the cost of depositing earth direct in the embankment with an elevating grader varies from 6f cents to 8i cents, exclusive of interest, depreciation, and administration.

Cost with

Scraper. Drag scrapers are admi rably adapted for borrowing at the sides of embankments and for wasting from cuts or ditches, and also for opening the mouth of large cuts; but are not economical except for short distances. There is no danger of the scraper getting out of order until it is worn out and unfit for use, and the manner of using it is quickly learned by any one. Drag scrapers are made in three sizes having a capacity of 3, 5, and 7 cubic feet, respectively; but it must not be assumed that each scraper will carry to the embankment an amount equal to its rated capacity, since in the first place it is difficult to completely fill the scraper, and in the second place the scraper carries loose earth which will shrink about 25 per cent when compacted in the embankment. Unless the soil is very loose and easily loaded, it is not safe to assume that each trip of the scraper will make of com pleted embankment more than one half of its rated capacity. The larger size is most economical, but the relative advantage is not proportional to the size, since the larger size is not as easily handled nor as easy to fill. Scrapers should be used in gangs of not less than six to decrease the cost of loosening, superintendence, spread ing, etc.

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