The St. Joseph County Road Commission recently received an IMPRESS Award from the County Road Association of Michigan.

The award gives recognition to county road agencies that demonstrate innovation with special projects in communications, operations and collaboration.

The local road commission received the award for building a combination tar distributor/plow truck that remains in service year-round. In the summer, it is used for chip-sealing. In winter, it is used to spread sand and salt and to clear the roads.

Previously, the road commission had two tar trucks at $250,000 each and two plow trucks at $220,000. Now, the commission has two combination trucks at $334,000 each, for a total savings of $272,000.

The process of converting the two trucks at the change of season requires about three days.

Denise Donohue, director of CRA, commended the organization.

“Creativity and efficiency are important characteristics of any road agency, and the St. Joseph County Road Commission has proven itself a role model in these areas,” said Donohue said. “Through collaboration and innovation, the agency has transformed its operations to run smoothly and efficiently.”

The road commission worked with Etnyre, Truck and Trailer Specialty Equipment and JX Peterbilt to make the project happen.