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Purchase of new “elephant” authorized

St. Louis City Council members voted 5-0 Tuesday to trade in the DPW’s three-year-old wheel loader for a factory-fresh wheel loader.

What’s a wheel loader, you ask? It’s 29,000 pounds of construction machinery with four large wheels and a front end to which a number of attachments can be connected. DPW personnel use it for moving and loading snow, concrete, asphalt, dirt, brush, wood chips, etc.

“It is tall enough to load over the sides of the big dump trucks and to pile the salt in the shed,” said DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott in an email. “It is used by Water and Electric Departments also for transformers and water leaks. The list goes on and on. It really is the number one workhorse in our fleet.”

The new wheel loader is a 2018 CAT 926M and costs $148,000. But the city gets $92,000 trade-in credit for its 2015 wheel loader for a total expenditure of $56,000.

The deal is part of a program with CAT that is similar to a lease. CAT grants a three-year warranty and guarantees a trade-in price.

The DPW crew put 1,900 hours on the old wheel loader in three years. “It’s always going somewhere,” said Abbott.

Terms for the new wheel loader are a little different. The guaranteed trade-in credit is $105,000 after three years or 2,000 hours of use, whichever comes first.

The alternatives are to lease a wheel loader ($2,500/month) or simply buy one and keep it beyond the three-year warranty period. The former is more expensive than the current trade-in program. The latter runs the risk of costly repairs as the loader ages.

Abbott said he likes the wheel loader and the people from CAT. “That’s our elephant,” he said. “It’s the right size, and it’s got enough power. We’ve come into a wonderful relationship with (the CAT people). I’m very happy.”

Indeed, Abbott and company compared the CAT wheel loader with similar products from John Deere and Case and found the former to be the best choice for St. Louis.

Read more about the 926M wheel loader on the Equipment World web site:

https://www.equipmentworld.com/caterpillar-926m-930m-and-938m-wheel-loaders-debut-at-world-of-concrete-with-hybrid-type-fuel-savings/

In other council news…

Boy hit by car

Police Chief Rich Ramereiz told council about a 4-year-old boy who was hit by a car while crossing South Main at M-46 on Monday (which happened to be the boy’s birthday). The boy did not appear to be seriously injured, but Ramereiz wasn’t 100 percent sure, as he hadn’t had a report from the hospital at time of meeting.

The driver of the vehicle was a 61-year-old Saginaw man. Alcohol was not a factor. The driver was released at the scene. The incident is under investigation.

Mayor Pro-Tem Melissa Allen wondered if the oddly configured bike lane at that corner (between the right turn lane and the go-straight lane) was a factor. “That was my first thought,” she said. “We need to get rid of that bike path.” But Ramereiz assured her that the markings on South Main did NOT play a part in the accident.

Parking on Corinth

Mayor Jim Kelly opined that street parking on Corinth between Prospect and Olive should be prohibited. It wasn’t a problem, he said, until last summer’s road reconstruction and the addition of curbs. Parked cars can’t get far enough to the right to get out of the way of traffic.

Kelly lives on Olive, so he drives on Corinth frequently. He reported rounding the corner from Olive onto Corinth and finding a parked car right in front of him. It’s impossible to go around without crossing centerline, and a hill makes it impossible to see oncoming cars. “It’s a hazard,” Kelly said. Ramereiz said he would look into it.

Mirror at Center and North Main

DPW Superintendent Abbott was asked for an update on a mirror that will be installed at North Main and Center so drivers making turns off Center onto North Main will be able to see southbound cars (which are currently screened by the bridge railing).

The post has been installed, but the mirror is still sitting on the floor next to Abbott’s office. “They’re going to get to it soon,” he said.

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Categories: Uncategorized

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