Fuelled by the constant frustration of not being able to get the appropriate equipment for their jobs, two road construction professionals decided to create the equipment themselves.
Working out of a two-car garage, in 2007, they became Road Widener LLC.
First, they developed and introduced the FH Series Road Wideners, adding a remote-control option in 2017.
In 2019, they introduced yet another piece of equipment industry professionals wished existed; The Vibe Roller.
Now, Road Widener works out of a state-of-the-art fabrication facility in Southeast Wisconsin, a long walk from the two-car garage they started in.
FH & FH-R Road Wideners
Designed to revolutionize profitability, the FH & FH-R Road Widener shouldering & side paver attachments offer versatility in a compact package.
It can take on road shoulder repairs, remediation, road widening, trench backfilling and even asphalt and aggregates placement—all with an attachment compatible with equipment most companies already have.
“Since the attachment is compatible with common machines contractors already own, there’s less hassle with setting it up and most customers quickly recognize the versatility, profitability and ROI it provides,” said Lynn Marsh, Road Widener LLC President.
The Road Widener attachment works with loaders, graders, compact track loaders and skid steers. It also comes in single and dual discharge formats.
With the Road Widener attached to one of these machines, material feeds from the hopper and out the discharge(s), where the shoe evenly grades the material.
With a dump truck feeding material to the attachment, it can evenly dispense up to 20 tons in under 10 minutes.
In 2017, Road Widener sold their first remote-controlled version of the FH attachment, the FH-R.
“We weren’t sure how much interest the FH-R would receive at the beginning, but it has proven to be one of our most popular options for customers. The convenience of being able to run the entire operation with one person instead of two has been a big draw for contractors.”
In terms of applications, the FH and FH-R have proven to be quite versatile.
“We don’t often hear about the uses, but the ones we are aware of started out with laying asphalt, then led to other applications, such as filling trenches with stone layers on major roadways that were cut into.”
“Additionally, we have learned some companies have used our attachments for laying concrete in specific areas or locations on and off the road. Others have used it to convey a variety of materials from wood to feed for farm animals,” Marsh continued.
Offset Vibratory Roller
This attachment was introduced in 2019 and serves as Road Widener’s second solution to a maddening problem in the industry.
“The Offset Vibratory Roller’s unique design allows the host machine to drive safely on flat ground while compacting sloping shoulders, ditches and other hard-to-reach areas alongside the road, a task that has traditionally put road crews in danger of rollover accidents, increased workers’ comp costs and poor safety ratings,” explains Marsh. “Additionally, the compact design of the attachment provides minimal traffic disturbances.”
Road Widener believes the combination of the vibration and roller offers optimal compaction.
There are three interchangeable drum sizes and multiple widths available, it works with standard and high-flow hydraulics, has a remote-control option, attaches via SAE quick connector coupling and is compatible with loaders, skid steers, compact track loaders and road graders.
A focus on safety has become a trend with Road Widener, as both of their machines and their subsequent updates attempt to find ways to keep workers out of harm’s way.
“Safety has been an important selling point of our Offset Vibratory Roller as well. Once attached to a host machine’s lift arm, the Offset Vibratory Roller becomes operable by easily connecting to the host machine’s hydraulics and pairing the remote control. From there, all aspects of the attachment, including height, angle, extension and compaction adjustments, can be operated by a single crewmember via the remote control.”
The future of Road Widener
Road Widener’s first 14 years have seen the tackling of convenience and safety in the roadbuilding industry. In terms of their future and their plans for expanding their attachment lineup, Lynn Marsh wants to keep most of the ideas under wraps.
“Yes, we have some new innovations in the works, but are not ready to announce them yet,” Marsh explained.
However, Marsh did offer that Road Widener is working on a new option for the Offset Vibratory Roller.
“One of our upcoming innovations will be an optional water spray system for the Offset Vibratory Roller. The attachment was originally designed for aggregate compaction, but many of our customers have been utilizing it for compacting asphalt as well.”