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First-of-its-kind truck will soon roll into Alexandria

Contributed photo A sign truck, similar to the one in this photo, will soon be installing street signs in Alexandria.

A new truck - the first of its kind for Alexandria - will soon be installing signs on city streets.

The truck will be equipped with all the items needed to remove old signs and put up new ones on the spot, including acetylene torches, jack-hammers, a crane, hole-digging tools and storage compartments for signs and posts.

"It's like a sign shop on wheels," said Bryan Bjorgaard, the city's public works coordinator. He requested the purchase at the Alexandria City Council's September 13 meeting.

The street department's mechanic truck, a 1989 Chevy half-ton that is starting to rust out, will be sold and replaced with the current sign truck, a 2002 Chevy three-quarter-ton, Bjorgaard said.

The city will purchase a 2010 Ford F-550 cab chassis and outfit it with sign maintenance equipment.

Bjorgaard received the council's approval to buy the cab chassis from Juettner Motors in Alexandria for $27,584 and the new sign service body from ABM Equipment for $53,730.

The money will come out of the street department's budget. The purchase was planned for, Bjorgaard said.

New mandated sign regulations are looming in the future, Bjorgaard told the council. Cities are being required to inventory all their signs and replace them with larger, more reflective signs by 2018.

Council members expressed some reservations about the cost, a total of $81,314. "That's a darn expensive truck," said one member.

To help offset the expense, council member Owen Miller said that Bjorgaard should contact area townships to see if they'd be interested in leasing or renting the truck. Bjorgaard said he'd look into it.

On the cost-saving side, the truck is expected to reduce the manpower needed to replace signs. It takes only one person to operate the truck.

The purchase was approved on a 4-1 vote. Council member Cindy Bigger voted against it.

The truck is expected to be rolling in three to four months.