Another Useful Invention from the Otter Tail County Highway Department: The Otter Claw Beaver Dam Cleaner – Perham Focus

OTTER TAIL COUNTY — The Otter Tail County Highway Department recently introduced an in-house innovation, the Otter Claw, created by the road maintenance team to clean culverts in a time-saving way. time and improve worker safety.

The ministry’s culvert cleaning crew had a problem: clearing the beaver dams of clogged culverts took many hours, was labor intensive, and was filthy after the beaver dam was demolished. So the crew got to work fixing the problem.

Brody Bakken and Dennis Bosek with the highway maintenance team developed the Otter claw. According to Bakken, the original design worked well, but the device couldn’t rotate 360 ​​degrees. The team needed a hydraulic swivel head, so they submitted a grant to the local University of Minnesota Operations Research Assistance Program and received funding to purchase the hydraulic swivel head. Now the otter claw is complete.

“What used to take over two hours of shoveling by hand now takes about 10 minutes with the Otter Claw,” Brody Bakken said. “The claw and cleaner can reach up to 15 feet, allowing debris to be removed in less time, and the operator can use the Otter Claw to safely remove large amounts of debris from the culvert.”

The department has won several state and national awards from the Build a Better Mousetrap competition. Last year, the “Sticky Stomp” earned a national honorable mention in the competition. The Department of Highways plans to submit Otter Claw this year.

“These employees went above and beyond designing the Otter Claw,” said Cristi Field, maintenance supervisor. “We are extremely proud of them. One idea gives rise to another; we support this innovation.