September 14th, 2012
READY FOR WINTEROptimize Mobility, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.
The extensive and careful work done in the Body Shop and Heavy Equipment Shop prolongs the life UDOT’s fleet and conserves funding.
Mechanics and auto-body workers at UDOT are getting heavy equipment ready for winter. Even though last winter was relatively mild, workers in the shop have plenty to do. With around forty two hundred pieces of heavy equipment in the fleet, work is non-stop.
“Right now, we are doing the things we can’t do in the winter,” says Steve McCarthy, UDOT’s Fleet Manager. By mid September, “mountain areas can get snow any time.” His crew is working with maintenance station supervisors to make sure each crew has the equipment needed to remove snow and ice.
UDOT’s fleet is valued at about $200 million, a significant investment of taxpayer money. Besides repairing fleet vehicles, strategies are being employed to conserve funding and work as efficiently as possible by:
- Keeping fleet vehicles longer; most are kept between sixteen and eighteen years and some up to twenty.
- Purchasing trucks with larger motors and tag axles that can handle tow plows and adding wing plows to the 10-wheeler fleet. Tow plows and wing plows remove a wider swath of snow from the roadway and boost efficiency.
- Using larger sanders to spread de‐icing materials and applying brine, high performing salts and other liquid anti‐icing solutions to remove snow and ice more efficiently.
- Leasing or renting some heavy equipment which can save repair costs while employing new more efficient technology.
By employing smart fleet strategies, UDOT has been able to maintain high performance standards and eliminate the need to purchase 25 percent more equipment.