City’s new concrete mixer will allow projects to be completed faster and cheaper

BUCKHANNON – A recently purchased concrete mixing truck could save the City of Buckhannon more than $600,000 over the course of five years.

Director of public works Jerry Arnold said the city purchased the mixer for $150,000 and a silo to store dry cement for $47,000.

“Scheduling was the biggest issue,” Arnold said. “We were having a lot of issues with getting our concrete scheduled when we wanted, and whenever you’ve got a crew waiting, you’re not being very productive.”

Arnold said there is only one local vendor, which made it harder to schedule concrete delivery for a project.

“Everybody pours concrete on a pretty day, so they’re getting all their orders for that day, and you had to get in line,” Arnold said. “A lot of times we had to wait as much as a week to get a truck, so we had to take our crew off the project it was working on and put them on other projects, and anytime you mobilize you’re losing time and you’re losing money.”

The city already placed its own concrete, but the new truck will allow them to mix the material as well.

“We’ll get all of our raw materials, and [city engineer] Jay Hollen is working on the mix design, because there are different mix designs for different projects,” Arnold said.

The city will see cost savings there, as well.

“This is going to be about half of what we’re paying for concrete per yard now,” Arnold said.

Training will take place soon on Apothecary Way (beside CVS) and then the mixer will be utilized on North Kanawha Street’s sidewalks. Next spring, the mixer will be used for all the sidewalks on North Spring Street.

“This machine also will be providing concrete to other departments, like whenever they do road cuts,” Arnold said. “That’s one of the other great things about it. Whenever they do road cuts, sometimes they wait weeks, until they get a dozen road cuts, so they can order enough concrete, because you have to order so much or you get penalized on price.”

Arnold said the new mixer has all the functions of a full concrete plant, but it’s portable and did not cost as much.

“The projected cost savings analysis on this was about $660,000 to the city over the course of five years, so it’s a worthwhile investment,” Arnold said. “I won’t call this an experiment, because it’s more than an experiment — it’s been a tried and true method in other countries, but it’s unique though that we’re one of the first municipalities to do this in the state.”

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