Concrete curbs are typically removed with a simple backhoe backhoe, an equipment operator, and a laborer helper. Curbs can be done more efficiently with a more powerful piece of equipment like an excavator, though access and machine size may be a factor. The joints where existing curb will remain and new curbs will start will typically require a ‘plunge cut’ be done for a clean edge, unless there already exists an expansion or construction joint there.
Curbs can be removed without a dump truck following along, but doing them this way is less productive and messier as the pile has to be put somewhere until the truck comes which often clutters the site and may make it less safe. Having a running dump truck continuously following along is generally cleaner and more productive than stockpiling and having to drop back and double handle the material later when a truck arrives. Curbs can either be lifted out in longer sections or they can broken first with the backhoe bucket and then loaded.
Positioning of the machine can be tricky depending on the logistics of the site. If the road has a parking lane it can be shut off and the excavator can remove and load the truck in this lane. The machine may also have to operate either between the road and walk, between the walk and right of way line, or on top of and directly in the line of the curb to be removed.
Often with curb removal, if an asphalt or concrete roadway is directly adjacent to the curb and must remain, a clean sawcut may be required parallel to the curb approximately 6-12” off the curb. This not only allows for a clean look but allows enough room for the concrete crew to get the new curb forms installed or allows room for the slip form machine. In addition, rarely can curbs adjacent to asphalt be removed without a sawcut as the old curb typically has concrete overspill underneath the asphalt road that is still attached to the old curb and will rip and tear at the asphalt road during curb removal, causing a messy look and additional unwanted asphalt road damage.
No matter the piece of equipment used, removing curbs can damage grass areas, rut the soil, and put scrape marks on the roadway. This damage occurs more so with tracked machines and less so with rubber tired machines. Tracked machines maneuver better in rough and wet terrain.