The Town of Brookhaven is adding 16 trucks to its highway department fleet -- in time for the winter snowplowing season.
The Freightliner trucks -- including 12 six-wheel dump trucks and four pickups, all of which can have snow plows mounted on the front -- will increase the fleet by about 18 percent, said Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro. Eight trucks have been delivered, and the rest are expected to arrive by month's end, he said.
The trucks, which collectively cost about $1.9 million, should bolster the town's efforts to battle major snow storms by clearing roads faster and more efficiently, Losquadro said.
"These trucks were really designed to open up those main roadways . . . We can have those trucks on constant duty, keeping those roads clear," he said.
The town plans to retire some old trucks that were prone to breakdowns and required major repairs to remain in service. Aging equipment was a factor town officials cited in February when crews struggled to clear roads following a blizzard that dumped as much as 30 inches of snow on some parts of the town.
"They're really critical during those times when we need to open up those main arteries so we can get equipment through," Losquadro said of the new trucks.
The vehicles were purchased through bonds issued as part of the town's capital budget, Losquadro said. Bonding the purchases allowed officials to spread payments out over a period of years -- thereby getting around a state-imposed $1 million annual cap on heavy equipment acquisitions, he said.
Losquadro, who was elected superintendent after the blizzard, said the new trucks will be assigned to each of the highway department's four zones, he said. "Each quadrant will receive four new trucks," Losquadro said. "We're distributing them evenly throughout the town."
He added his department has been preparing for the winter since shortly after Labor Day, when crews began inspecting and repairing vehicles.
Besides plowing and salting roads, the trucks may be used for tasks such as hauling brush and debris. "Those trucks can perform a multitude of tasks," he said. "Those trucks are on the road every day year round."