With a bed full of caliche, a Cat® CT660 dump truck owned by Hidalgo County, Texas, Precinct 1 left a county-owned pit to begin a 70-mile journey to a road construction project.
Precinct 1, one of four precincts in Hidalgo County, has purchased four Cat CT660 dump trucks in the past two years to transport materials for the construction and improvement of precinct roads.
“When we took office two years ago, we realized that we didn’t have the equipment to keep up with the growth,” said Raul Lozano, chief administrator for District 1 commissioner A.C. Cuellar. “At that time, we had three trucks to haul materials to jobsites.”
Growing at a rate of 5 to 7 percent annually, in the past 10 years Hidalgo County’s population has increased to 900,000.
Purchasing the trucks helped Precinct 1 address additional maintenance on unpaved caliche roads and paving of some unimproved roads made necessary by the population increase.
COST EFFICIENT SOLUTION
The truck purchase is also saving the precinct tax dollars. Precinct 1 had been paying $30,000 per month for hauling contracts to transport materials for road construction. “We’ve eliminated that completely by purchasing our own trucks,” Lozano said. “Obviously, we have to pay for the new trucks, but we’ve saved quite a bit of money.”
Acquiring trucks using an NJPA (National Joint Powers Alliance) cooperative contract saves an estimated 3 to 5 percent off the purchase price. “That’s a big advantage,” Lozano said.
NJPA creates a business and service partnership between buyers and suppliers that enables the purchase of equipment quickly and at a great savings through nationally leveraged, competitive bid contracts.
Purchasing trucks through an existing Caterpillar contract saves Precinct 1 staff time because the NJPA has already gone through the bid process. NJPA contracts are solicited, awarded and monitored by a public agency with a publicly elected board of directors, so local bidding requirements are met.
“Instead of going out to bid, and waiting to receive the bids, it’s quicker to use the NJPA contract. They’ve already gone though the bid process,” said Katia Garcia, accountant for Precinct One.
The CT660s, built for heavy-duty work, are up to any challenge, including landfill work. The precinct has purchased three Cat CT660 roll-off trucks in the past two years to transport 30-yard waste containers from five transfer stations to the county landfill. The trucks travel approximately 50-miles one-way to the landfill.
Precinct 1 Cat Vocational Trucks used to transport trash, as well as those that haul road construction materials, annually log approximately 40,000 to 50,000 miles each. The precinct believes the Cat trucks have the durability for 10 years of work in the demanding applications. “We’re trying to build our own fleet of trucks. That will save us a lot of taxpayer money,” Lozano said.
THE LONG RUN
Cat technology improves truck uptime and makes fleet management much easier. Product LinkTM enables the precinct to track the location of all trucks at all times to more efficiently utilize the fleet. Health and performance of the vehicles are also tracked to improve uptime and schedule maintenance.
“If there’s a problem with the engine, transmission, we know right away,” Lozano said. “Any maintenance that’s required, the computer lets us know.”
Holt Cat technicians complete all warranty work, which helps keep uptime high. Precinct 1 is pleased with product support and service from Holt Cat and Caterpillar. “They’ve done an excellent job,” Lozano said.
For instance, after debris tangled into exterior wiring on a truck working at the landfill, Holt Cat technicians reconfigured wiring to prevent a recurrence. “When they go to the landfill, you never know what the trucks will get into,” Lozano said. “It’s difficult work.”
In the two years that Hidalgo County Precinct 1 has been utilizing the CT660s to handle the tough jobs of transporting road building materials and trash to landfills, the trucks have met the challenge and have delivered outstanding uptime and durability.
To learn about the newly introduced CT681 forward-axle Vocational Truck, the second in the line of Caterpillar trucks dedicated to meeting tough challenges, turn to Page 2 in this issue.