By CARL SMITH
County road crews are one step closer to receiving a new asphalt distributor truck after the board of supervisors opened bids Monday during its recess meeting.
The new distributor truck will be used to spray CRS-2 liquid asphalt and replace a two-man unit built in 1983, County Administrator Don Posey said.
The board opened four bids from three Mississippi companies for the distributor truck. The bids ranged from $134,742 to $151,037. A $146,968 bid from Empire Truck Sales of Jackson for a 2013 Freightliner truck equipped with a 24-foot spray Entyre distributor was recognized as the lowest bid after it was revealed the $134,742 bid from the same company did not meet specifications requested by the county.
The board took the bids under advisement and passed them to County Road Manager Victor Collins for review. Collins said he would make a recommendation to the board at its next meeting in April. Once a bid is selected, Posey said the county could add it to its workforce in about 90 days.
County officials said a new distributor not only would replace antiquated equipment, but it would also cut down on work time. With a spray range of above 20 feet, Posey said county road crews can make fewer passes while working on projects.
Besides work time, the new implement will also reduce stress upon workers. The county’s old distributor required an employee to control it directly at the machine, exposing the worker to harsh conditions. The new distributor, Collns said, would feature computer control.
“(A new distributor) will make our projects go a lot faster. It holds more material and will require less fill-ups,” Collins said. “Our old distributor requires two men (to operate). It’s kind of hazardous because during the summer its 100 degrees outside with a man (working the distributor and) standing over 175-degree asphalt. You get over that machine in the summer for a while, and I’ve seen times when our workers almost passed out. As many roads as we have to work on, it will be a big help to us.”
District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer said the new implement will provide the county road department with a state-of-the-art piece of equipment to use as it tackles its four-year, $10.08 million road plan. Under the plan, county workers will reclaim 23.6 miles, build 23.3 miles and pave 19.75 miles of Oktibbeha roads. The need for a new asphalt distributor was the only high-priority requirement addressed in the road plan.