New vehicles replacing aging trucks in fleet

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 19, 2016

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — City Council unanimously approved the purchase of several vehicles for the Department of Public Works, replacing trucks that were more than a decade old.

A new Skid Steer was approved to replace a 1998 vehicle with 1,800 hours logged in use that has a broken gear box, which controls the hydraulics on the front of the machine.

The Skid Steer is used by the Forestry Department to handle trees and brush during tree removal and also to auger holes to plant more trees. It is also used to load trucks and trailers with materials. The new equipment, DPW Director Bryan Babcock said, will be able to auger larger holes, with a 36-inch diameter, to better accommodate the larger trees the city has been planting. In addition, because the new Skid will reach higher, “it is going to make it safer for loading our trucks,” Babcock said Jan. 4. 

The old Skid Steer is planned to be sold at auction and could bring a price of around $5,000. The new equipment will cost $45,801. 

The department will also buy three new tandem-axle dump trucks for $500,453 as part of a purchasing cooperative with several other metro Detroit communities. The three trucks being replaced are from 1995 and 1999.

Babcock said that two of the trucks will have front plows and underbelly scrapers and one truck will be reserved for the Water Department because “every time we’re plowing, they’re fixing a broken water main.”

The new trucks, he said, will have a much better suspension system and are designed to carry heavier loads than the old trucks. In addition, the old trucks have holes in the dump bodies and are worn beyond repair. 

City Manager Mike Smith said that’s the real reason why the truck replacements were needed.

“It doesn’t seem like a lot of miles,” he said. “When the frame starts going, that’s a problem.”

Councilman John Caron congratulated the department on taking a “logical approach” to DPW’s actual needs. 

“We’re not overbuying,” he said.

The department is also purchasing a Swap Loader truck for $209,486, with a forestry chipper attachment for $13,276. The truck will have a plow to allow it to be used for snow clearing, along with an interchangeable flat bed, a container body, a tank system and the chipper alternatives. The truck is replacing two dump trucks in the DPW fleet dating back to 1995 and 2000. 

Babcock said the water tank will be able to be used for watering trees and also anti-icing. 

“You clean it out with the brine and you can use it (in) the summer as well,” he said.

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