DERRY — Thanks to a state grant program, the Department of Public Works could have a pair of new and efficient one-ton trucks before the snow starts falling this winter.
On Tuesday night, the Town Council voted, 6-1, to accept a state Department of Transportation grant that will cover 80 percent of the trucks’ cost, with Mark Osborne the only councilor voting against the plan.
The DOT grant program dates back to 2010 and is intended to lower chloride levels from winter road salting in conjunction with the Interstate 93 widening project. Salem, Windham and Londonderry have also received funds through the program.
Public Works Director Mike Fowler said town generated a salt management plan in 2010, making the town eligible for the grants.
“Round one funding was approved by the town in January 2010 for the purchase of a five-ton truck with the town of Derry responsible for 20 percent of the cost and the state of New Hampshire reimbursing 80 percent of the cost,” said Fowler. “Round two funding was approved by the Town Council in June 2012 for the purchase of two additional five-ton trucks under the same cost share formula.”
The state will also pay for 80 percent of the cost of the two one-ton trucks, which are designed to reduce salt usage during the winter. The trucks are equipped with front plows, wing plows, ground speed control and spreaders that include brine saddle tanks for pre-wetting the road.
Fowler said the pre-wetting prevents the salt from bouncing off the road and onto the sides of the street. The ice and snow control methods are designed to reduce salt usage by 20 percent, said Fowler.
“The total cost for each truck is $81,500, for a total cost of $163,000,” said Fowler. With the 80 percent reimbursement, the town will pay $32,600 for the new trucks.
“The town has greatly modernized its truck fleet through this grant program,” said Fowler. “Five trucks that were originally scheduled for replacement in the fiscal years 2012-16 will be replaced sooner, utilizing the financial leverage of the grant funds.”
The two trucks that will be replaced could either be auctioned off or used by another town department, said Fowler.
Town Councilor Al Dimmock said he wholeheartedly supported the grant, noting that the current one-ton trucks used by Public Works do not have the features of the proposed new trucks.
“If we do not get them now, we will not have the grant to get them later,” he said. “Then we’re going to have to pay for the whole shooting match.”