Lexington snow plow contractor a no show; city adding staff

A private contractor the city of Lexington has on retainer to help it clear snow from city streets during major snow storms could not help the city plow on Jan. 6, when the city received nearly 10 inches of snow.

Red River Ranch, the sole bidder for the private snow plowing, notified the city on Jan. 3 that truck parts that were needed had not yet arrived due to global supply chain issues, said Nancy Albright, the Commissioner for Environmental Quality and Public Works.

The city uses a private contractor after major storms with heavy accumulation to augment the city’s plows. Albright said the city had to tap staff with commercial driver licenses from other city departments to help plow streets after last week’s storms. Thanks largely to warmer weather and rain, most of the snow was gone by Jan. 9.

Red River Ranch has not been paid, Albright said.

The contract is for $38,775 per truck for retrofitting and $200 per hour per truck when the trucks are operating. The contract is for 5 trucks.

The city is bracing for a second round of winter storms likely starting Sunday. Snow fall accumulation could be between 2 to 4 inches in some areas of Central Kentucky, according to the National Weather Service.

Albright said Red River Ranch will not be available to help this weekend.

“We put together a back-up plan that involved using CDL drivers from across government,” Albright said. “We will rely upon that again should it be needed this weekend.”

Beth Musgrave has covered government and politics for the Herald-Leader for more than a decade. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has worked as a reporter in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Washington D.C.

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