The City of Moose Jaw is replacing a pothole repair truck that has been causing issues throughout the construction season. 

The truck is a 2014 International, also known as Unit 169, equipped with a 2014 thermal lay asphalt unit. It was slated to be replaced in 2029 and had an accumulated depreciation of $140,846. 

The unit has been in the shop for 86 in-house mechanical hours and over $15,000 has been spent on parts this year. 

Director of Engineering Services Bevan Harlton said it started with an issue with the diesel cleaning unit which highlighted a knocking noise coming from the engine. 

It has been parked since the week of July 17. The city estimates further repairs would take three to six weeks and an additional $12,000 to $18,000. 

“From a lot of discussions with our mechanics, that will require the head to come off that engine or the engine to be pulled apart,” said Harlton.  

“It’s being framed by the mechanics as a throwaway engine, meaning that the investments to get surety out of this vehicle for the remainder of its service life will go beyond buying a new engine.” 

Harlton said the truck has been down for half of the construction season and, although he didn’t have exact figures, he had to assume that it delayed filling potholes. 

“It had its own distinct costs in garage fees and has also offered a lot of challenges for our public works staff, where the truck fails midway through a day or the truck fails as you get to work in the morning has caused big problems for that staff,” Harlton said. 

“You could only assume that running on one truck half of the season has done nothing but hurt our operation staff.” 

In July, the city’s fleet supervisor learned of a pothole truck available from the City of Weyburn. Weyburn had purchased the truck in anticipation of a hot mix plant opening in the southeast that never came to fruition. 

The truck is a 2022 Freightliner with a 2022 thermal lay unit with 4,000 kilometres and 400 engine hours. 

Moose Jaw’s fleet services saw the truck on July 25 and noted it was kept in a heated, covered environment and it was in “like new condition.” 

The city entered into a rental agreement with the City of Weyburn this month to use the truck for $3,000 per month with 75 per cent of the rental price going towards the purchase price. 

“We replaced some hydraulic hoses when we first received it, but our operators are very happy with this unit. It’s got 400 engine hours on it and it's like new. So, Weyburn needs to make a sale on this unit and the City of Moose Jaw needs to purchase a better unit,” Harlton said. 

The total price tag for the truck is $273,350. The deal came before city council to approve moving $70,100 from TR4 Gravel Roads and $62,404 from TR3 Traffic Control in order to purchase the truck. The motion passed unanimously. 

Harlton explained the TR4 Gravel Roadways is for capital upgrades to gravel roads. He said Ninth Avenue Southeast and 32nd Avenue and Coteau Street West will be completed in the next couple of years, but less-traveled roads will not get a rehab.  

There was some concern from city council about taking away money for gravel roads, but Harlton assured them that the roads that don’t receive a rehab will be graded more frequently if needed. 

As for TR3 Traffic Control, it is for projects that have been put on hold until the completion of the city’s transportation master plan. 

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