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Linn County Secondary Road Mechanic Dennis Kriegel knows first-hand that necessity is truly the mother of invention.
In the wake of the flood, Kriegel created a “jig” (pictured at right) that made it safer, faster and less damaging to take the HESCO barrier units apart. The barriers were used to secure the perimeter of county buildings in the flood zone.
HESCO barriers come in sections of five, with a pin that holds each section of five with the next. Each pin has a hook on the end.
While removing the HESCO barriers after the flood, county crews found that it was extremely difficult to remove the pins using only pliers. If the pins could not be removed, the barriers could be damaged – making them impossible to use again.
So Kriegel came up with idea of a “jig” that could remove the pins. He drilled two holes in a 3” X 7 ½” steel plate used in his shop. One hole was for the pin, and the other hole allowed a chain to be fastened to an excavator bucket, which could pull the pin up and out.
The result was a safe, efficient and quick way to pull the barriers apart. The jig also kept most HESCO barriers intact, allowing them to be saved for future use.
Shop Manager Thad Alexander summed it up best: “Our road department mechanics are good at finding innovative solutions to problems.”
The photo below shows the last HESCO barrier being removed from May's Island on Sept. 29, 2016.