Washburn welcomes new plow truck

WASHBURN, Maine - A new piece of equipment has joined an aging fleet at Washburn's Highway Department. Kathy McCarty spoke with the highway foreman about what's been added and what it will mean to the community.

The town of Washburn has been needing a new plow truck for several years, relying on used trucks to serve the purpose. This past spring, Highway Foreman Harold Easler approached the Town Council about getting another plow truck.

"They decided to opt to go with the new, as opposed to buying another used equipment, to start upgrading our systems and bring things more to date for the future."

The new truck comes with all the benefits of new equipment, including a warranty. It's a Western Star truck with an all-seasons body and plow.

"We don't have to change and put sanders in or out, we can just fold some doors down, and we can use it for hauling gravel, snow, whatever, without changing, so that's a good asset and it works well for us that way."

Easler says the truck cost about $171,000, with the cost covered by the department's reserve account, which was established three years ago. The new truck will also mean a reduction in repair costs.

"The age doesn't bother me, but the dependability does. You can't be broke down and servicing for ambulance services and fire protection where you have to have the roads open."

This is the first new truck the department has obtained in more than three decades, relying on used vehicles over the years to meet their needs.

"The last truck that they purchased was 35 years ago, so it's a little bit overdue, but we're sure glad to have it. It's gonna be a big asset to us."

This will make the fourth truck in the three-man department's fleet. Easler says they'll keep the old one as a backup, rather than try to sell it. The new truck is being fitted with new shoes, radios and other equipment and is expected to be in use in the next couple weeks.