The Missouri Department of Transportation is prepared for this week’s forecasted winter weather and is using some innovative techniques to get the job done.
For the second consecutive year, the South Central District will be using tow plows, which are pulled behind a tandem-axle snowplow truck and are able to swing out to one side, which doubles the plow width of a standard plow to 26 feet in one pass.
According to MoDOT Superintendent Dan Sherbo, the efficiency of the tow plow can help reduce labor and fuel costs. “Its intent is to move a lot of snow off of the road at one time. So we’re able to, theoretically, remove snow with one truck and a Tow Plow in what two trucks would normally do. You may, on occasion, find a truck following behind it that may be clearing the shoulder behind it, or possibly clearing the other lane. So it can make us quite efficient. You’ll see that only on multi-lane highways and never on a divided highway,” said Sherbo.
The South Central District also uses an innovative treatment on the road surface itself to battle winter storms – beet juice. “We use beet juice in combination with salt, which actually lowers the working temperature of salt. It gets us down to much colder temperatures; making our salt more effective. Which, in essence, can reduce the amount of salt that we need in order to deal with frozen precipitation. On the back side of a storm, a real benefit of the beet juice is the road tends to dry quicker than some of our more traditional treatments. What we used to use would retain moisture on the roadway and we’d see some refreeze. We’re finding much less of that as we use the beet juice more,” said Sherbo.
The South Central District is prepared with more than 150 trucks equipped to plow snow, more than 21,000 tons of salt on hand and more than 300 employees available to battle winter storms this season.
MoDOT encourages you to do your part by staying off the roadways when possible during winter road conditions, planning ahead when you do need to travel and buckling up.
During winter weather events, MoDOT crews work around the clock to clear the roadways as soon as possible and use a priority system to clear routes. You can check the condition of your routes using MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map at http://www.modot.gov/. This map is continuously updated with current road and travel conditions.