AGH Group acquires new Drake 4×4 steerable Deck Widener

Queanbeyan-based AGH Demolition & Asbestos Removal (AGH) has expanded its operations with a new Drake 4×4 Deck Widener featuring two rear steerable axles and a deck length of 11.85m.

AGH started out as a hazardous material remediation and demolition company and branched out into heavy machinery haulage several years ago.

According to AGH float operator, Rodney ‘Rubber’ Stephenson, the steerable axles on the new Drake unit have given the company an edge over the competition thanks to the ability to access tight worksites to pick up and deliver machinery.

“This is the second steerable Drake float that the company has purchased, and we also have two Drake dollies – a 4×8 and a 2×8 – that enables us to work at up to 130 tonnes Gross Combination Mass (GCM),” said Stephenson.

He explained that the float work has really taken off for the company in recent times and with the older Drake unit needing an overhaul the company, decided to bite the bullet and order a brand-new unit.

“We have so much work on at present that we can’t afford not to have a float in operation and once the older one is done up we will have plenty of work to keep them both busy,” said Stephenson.

As with the older unit, the new one features hydraulic suspension but they differ in wheel size with the new one having 17.5” shiny chromed steel rims while the earlier unit rides on 19.5” rims.

“This is a major benefit because it lowers the deck height by 60mm, making the unit more stable,” said Stephenson – adding that the 4.8m long bi-fold ramps on the new unit are particularly handy when loading low ground clearance asphalt paving machines and the like.

Stephenson said the company is kept busy moving machinery for the Snowy 2.0 Hydropower Project which is a major expansion of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme that was commissioned in 1974.

“The project has been going for about two years and they’ve just started using a tunnel boring machine to drill through the mountainside.

“The twin steerable axles on our new Drake float means we are one of the few haulage companies that can negotiate the narrow, winding roads that lead to the project.”

Having been a float operator for the past 15 years, Stephenson has high praise for Drake floats.

“I’ve towed a few different brands in my time, but I think Drake is probably the best,” he said.

“The steerable Drake floats are perfect for the type of work we do.”

Apart from the steerable axles, other special features include hydraulic landing legs that enable the trailer to be unhitched from the prime mover even when fully loaded. The Drake Group also supplied special steel feet that go under the legs to prevent them sinking in soft ground.

It also has a diesel powerpack to power the hydraulic system, while the prime mover has a gearbox mounted hydraulic pump that can power the trailer’s hydraulics as a backup.

Other features include pneumatic ramp chain tensioners, a large number of lashing points and four spare wheels that are mounted horizontally on the gooseneck. According to Stephenson, this makes them far easier to get down than vertically mounted spares as they can be slid down the gooseneck onto the deck.

There are also large toolboxes on both sides and a special chain and dog storage bin under the gooseneck.