Residents of Lowe Street, off US 79, awoke this morning to the sound of heavy machinery and crumbling asphalt: City workers were taking some new equipment for a test drive.
The Bomag RS360 stabilizer/recycler, the latest piece of road equipment the city is testing, can tear up streets, grind them up, then use the remains to lay a solid base for pavement. It's quicker and cheaper than traditional methods used by the city.
The RS360, named for its 360 horsepower, is a 20-ton vehicle that typically costs more than $100,000 – and that's for a pre-owned model.
There is no quick-fix for the teeth-rattling minefield of potholes city streets have become, but city officials believe the RS360 can help.
“The city needs equipment like this,” City Manager Leslie Cloer told the Herald-Press Thursday.
The city tested a different piece of equipment, a street “Zipper,” on Hilltop Drive in June. The machines are similar, but interim Director of Streets John Elrod told the Herald-Press the Bomag better suits Palestine's needs.
“The Zipper had to be mounted on a front-end loader, while the Bomag is a stand-alone,” he said. “It frees up my loader. It can be operated by one person, rather than the three the Zipper requires.”
Cloer said she is pleased with the RS360's performance, but she and her staff are not done looking for the best equipment at the best price. “You have to shop around,” she said.
Lowe Street residents returning home to a dirt road should not worry, Cloer said. After the street base settles for several days, a contractor will lay asphalt over it.