John Deakins

Washington County Highway Superintendent John B. Deakins Jr., right, speaks to the county's Budget Committee on Wednesday.

The head of the Washington County Highway Department said supply shortages and manufacturing demands have resulted in his department ordering trucks today that won’t even be built for at least another year.

Washington County Highway Superintendent John B. Deakins Jr. told members of the county’s Budget Committee on Wednesday that he has altered his replacement schedule for heavy vehicles as a result of a problem with the engines in some of his department’s current International dump trucks and a 12-month backlog on manufacturing new truck frames.

“It’s not a good situation,” Deakins said. “The reason we are looking to order so many new trucks now is that we are looking a year down the road.”

He said suppliers have told him those new vehicles are not likely to be manufactured until October 2022.

The Budget Committee approved Deakins’ request to move $2,318,400 from the department’s capital reserves to replace trucks and other heavy equipment.

Some of that money will go to the purchase of eight new Kenworth trucks, which is four more than what Deakins had originally budgeted for the year.

Deakins said the reason for moving ahead with the purchase of the four new vehicles is “kind of complicated.”

He said the new Kenworth trucks will go to replace four International models that have been a maintenance nightmare for his department.

He said repairs and engine replacements for the faulty trucks have driven up their operational costs to 94 cents a mile.

“We hope they will stay together until we can get the new trucks,” Deakins said.

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Press Senior Reporter

Robert Houk has served as a journalist and photographer at the Press since 1987. He is a recipient of the Associated Press Managing Editors Malcom Law Award for investigative reporting.

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