City engineers have come up with an innovative idea to use existing vehicles to create a fleet of trucks that can be used year-round and officials say the concept will save over $4.5 million in capital and operating expenses.

The city has a number of single-use, heavy-duty vehicles that are used for seasonal work and staff were tasked with coming up with a way to transform them into multi-purpose vehicles to save money and reduce the fleet size.

Engineers designed, developed and manufactured multi-use vehicle components so that sanders, anti-icers, asphalt carriers, dust suppression spreaders and construction vehicles can be converted and used throughout the year.

“With all the roads maintenance we’re doing year-round, we were noticing an increased need for more single-purpose sanders, anti-icers, street cleaners and asphalt carriers. The question became: how could The City reduce its fleet size and still accommodate road maintenance needs?” said Sharon Fleming, Director of Fleet Services, in a release.

“They couldn’t find any product that could do the job in the market so the next best thing was, okay, let’s put our heads together and see if we can come up with a design that addresses all the needs that we had in operations,” said Majid Asefi, Fleet Operations Manage, The City of Calgary

The modifications mean crews can switch asphalt and dust suppression carriers, which are used in the spring and summer, into sand spreaders and anti-icers for use in the winter in about 20 minutes.

One of the components, a slip-in asphalt carrier, was patented in June and the city says it is capable of recycling asphalt overnight.

“That is basically a component that sits in the back of a dump truck and its plug and play, simple as that,” said Asefi. “We ended up to develop a great design that we managed to get a patent for the city in the process.”

Crews scrape the old asphalt off the street into the carrier and then plug it in overnight and the next day they can reuse the material to fill potholes.

Officials say recycling the product will keep over 8,500 tons of summer waste out of the landfills.

The city says the innovations will help to reduce its fleet size, increase its usefulness and cut costs by about $4.5 million.

Sales and marketing of the multi-purpose vehicle components and asphalt carrier will start in the fall.

The City of Airdrie has already embraced the idea and has purchased a multi-purpose truck with two components; the asphalt carrier and stainless-steel sander spreader.

For more on the City of Calgary’s Road Maintenance programs, click HERE.