Contractors working for the province are embracing technology and are now using robotic mowers to trim the grass in green spaces along Alberta’s roadways.
Carmacks bought two of the big, yellow spider slope mowers for $47,000 and crews are using them to tackle the grass along a portion of Stoney Trail and Anthony Henday Drive in Edmonton.
The spider mower reaches a top speed of 8 kilometers an hour and can climb slopes as steep as 55 degrees.
A company in Airdrie supplies the technology and crews say they actually make things safer for road crews.
“Safety was the main concern and especially with all the hills, the new overpasses that we have with some steep slopes, it was the perfect fit,” said Jason Curcio from NB Equipment. “Instead of having three or four or five people with trimmers on a steep slope trimming by hand there’s still the risk of slipping down the hill, rolling your ankle, it’s all gone with the spider mower.”
“These things are worth their weight in gold for the efficiency and above all the safety of our employees,” said Phillip Mendive, Carmack’s Operations Manager.
The industrial sized mower is easy to use and is operated using a remote control.
“It looks like a big ticket item. It looks like a bit of a gimmick possibly if you're just driving by and you see this mower climbing a hill with nobody near it but it's very safe, efficient and it just does a great job cutting," said Curcio.
The City of Calgary, Parks Canada, and Heritage Park have also taken the spider for a test drive.