How Does a Road Grader Work?



A road grader is a large piece of road equipment which features a large steel blade located beneath the center of the vehicle. The blade is adjustable, allowing the road grader’s operator to be able to control the height and angle of the blade while the machine is in operation. Some road graders are equipped with a GPS function, which allows the operator to have very precise control over which areas they grade and which they don’t. The GPS technology allows the grader operator to grade specific lengths of road or soil instead of having to estimate the amount of ground that they grade.
The blade of a road grader is designed to create a flat, level surface for the construction of new roads and the leveling of uneven ground. Though a road grader may seem at first to be a bulky and awkward piece of heavy equipment, it is actually used most often as a means of finishing the grade started by other construction equipment, such as bulldozers and scrapers. Some areas also use the blade of a road grader as a means to create better drainage when laying new asphalt roads, letting the blade create shallow drainage ditches beside the road or creating occasional small drainage paths along the edges of the road shoulder itself. Localities which receive a large amount of snowfall often use road graders to clear heavy snows from important roadways as well.
A road grader lowers its blades to the height at which the grade is to be set, pushing dirt or asphalt that is higher than that level forward until it is smoothed down or is pushed off of the side of the blade. The angle that the blade is mounted at allows excess materials to eventually fall away from the blade, leaving a small ridge of dirt or other material beside the grader as it travels. Several passes will be made in order to successfully level the roadway or ground, improving the overall grade each time the road grader’s blade passes over the area. When being used to clear snow, the blade of the road grader will be set slightly higher than the surface of the road so as to prevent damaging the road itself in the event of dips or an uneven road surface beneath the snow.