REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors will consider a request to purchase a new airport snowplow, at Tuesday's Council meeting. Airport Director Zach Bass says it would replace a 1959 plow that couldn't keep up with this winter's weather. "A great piece of equipment; it’s been rebuilt twice. The last time it was rebuilt was 1984, so it’s been in its current state for 32 years, which is a long time for a piece of equipment. It performed really well but we did find a lot of limitations because of its age and maintenance during this last storm."
The new $550,000 plow features a 4x4 chassis and Bass says would be more versatile than the old vehicle. "Snow equipment for an airport, because of its size, are expensive. To put it in perspective, a city plow that you might see runs an 8’ plow on the front and ours runs a 22’ plow. So, we could do both lanes of Highway 97 with one plow." He tells KBND News the new vehicle would also include a 20' broom that would be more efficient at removing contaminants from the runway year round, and and an air blast system for blowing snow.
Bass says the contract request comes ahead of a plan to upgrade the fleet. "In 2020, we’re actually going to be receiving some FAA entitlement grant money to purchase $2 million worth of snow removal equipment. So, it’s about a 5-7 year process to replace these older vehicles. We’re always stewards of our money, though, and it’s worked for years - it’s a workhorse and it’s done well. But, there are a lot of things that during this last storm proved to us it’s probably time to retire this piece of equipment."
The new plow wouldn't be built until the purchase contract is approved. Bass is hopeful it would be ready for next winter.