As heavy snow falls across the U.S., more municipalities are finding it hard to keep up, dealing with either a shortage of snow plows or ageing snow removal equipment. Here’s a roundup of what a few cities are doing to make sure they are prepared to keep roads safe.
Commissioners from the City of El Dorado, Kansas, approved the purchase of five new snowplows in January. The equipment will replace the current fleet, some of which is 25 years old, according to KSN.com. The first delivery of snowplows will arrive in April, with a second round coming possibly in August or September.
The City of Gary, Indiana, has a smaller snow fleet, which caused an issue when two of its snowplows broke down. The city was down to one large snowplow truck, plus seven Ford F-550 pickup trucks outfitted with plows and salt spreaders, according to Deputy Mayor Trent McCain. Gary officials made an $180,000 emergency purchase for a second snowplow truck, NWI.com reported.
Commissioners from Richland County, North Dakota, unanimously approved the purchase of five plow trucks for $1.13 million during a special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 10, according to News Monitor. All equipment stored in the Richland County Highway Department’s Hankinson shop was totaled following a fire on Jan. 18. Among the equipment totaled were five plow trucks, for which insurance will pay out $470,145. The Richland County Highway Department is purchasing two trucks with snow equipment and an underbody scraper for $232,000 each and three trucks with snow equipment and no underbody scraper for $222,000 each, for a total of $1.13 million. The county intends to pay for the plow trucks through a lease-to-purchase agreement.
The City of Pittsburgh is maintaining an aging fleet of about a hundred plows, but only about 75 are deployed at any given time. The rest are ready to go out if an operating plow runs into trouble or has to be pulled from its route, according to WESA.fm. Chris Hornstein, acting director of Public Works, said the department is working to acquire newer machines because downed equipment can create delays.
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