BAR HARBOR — Snow removal operations should get a boost this year from the recent purchase of a snow blower attachment for the town’s front end loader. The town council approved the purchase of a used Larue D40 blower attachment at their Aug. 18 meeting. The equipment has now been ordered, Highway Division Superintendent Scott Wood said Tuesday, and should arrive in the next few weeks.
For the past several years, the town’s sidewalk plow has been doing double duty, Public Works Director Chip Reeves told the council, clearing sidewalks and also loading dump trucks when snow banks are removed.
The new unit mounts on the front of the front end loader. It has a wider mouth (112 inches) and more powerful motor (230 horsepower) than the blower on the sidewalk plow. It also will free up the sidewalk plow to stay on sidewalk duty during storms. Most of the complaints the department receives concerning snow removal are about sidewalks, Reeves said. Switching the sidewalk plow between sidewalks and snow removal “was a struggle all winter.” He also expects that reducing the duties of the sidewalk plow should increase the working life of that machine.
“It takes five and a half hours to run the normal sidewalk route in a snowstorm,” Wood said. “If we get an 18 hour storm, the operator is pretty much buried in that.”
Councilors said that with heavy snow last year, the use of the sidewalk plow on side streets meant not enough snow was removed, resulting in some roads becoming one lane.
The $84,544 purchase was funded through the capital improvement program (CIP) account designated to replace the town’s road grader. Reeves wrote in a memo to the Town Council that the balance left in the account could be built back up to fund a grader purchase, if needed, in 2020.
At the meeting, he said the existing grader is easy to maintain. “As long as we can keep getting parts for it, we can keep it going,” he said.
Public works will continue to put money into the replacement accounts for the grader and the front end loader, Reeves said. But the blower attachment is expected to last long enough that he didn’t recommend setting up a new CIP account to replace it. If it outlives the current loader, the attachment mechanism is transferable to other makes of equipment.