For the second year in a row, the Missouri Department of Transportation will test its readiness for the upcoming winter season with a statewide drill today.
The drill is one component of MoDOT’s winter battle plan to make sure travelers can get back on Missouri roadways as quickly as possible after winter storms.
“Over 3,000 of MoDOT employees are involved in our winter operations, including every maintenance crew across the state,” said State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright. “The drill helps to make sure we all know our roles during a storm and we can do our jobs successfully.”
During the drill, MoDOT employees will react to a simulated forecast of significant snow for the entire state. The department’s emergency operations centers will activate and maintenance employees will be deployed to their trucks.
“One of the most valuable parts of the drill is to measure our snowplow circuit by driving every route we plow during a storm,” said Wright. “This helps us anticipate our response times and reminds our operators of how long it takes to complete those circuits.”
Motorists may notice increased numbers of MoDOT vehicles on state highways during the drill. In rural areas, crews will deploy after 8 a.m. In urban areas, the drill will not begin until after 9 a.m. Wright estimates that the exercise will take about six hours.
The drill isn’t the only element to MoDOT’s winter weather operations. All maintenance employees complete an annual winter skills training that serves as a refresher course for plowing snow. The training assures that proper equipment operation, plowing techniques and safety measures are fresh on employees’ minds as winter approaches. Every piece of equipment — every truck, motor grader, snow blower and tractor is inspected to ensure proper operation.
“Our ultimate goal is to handle the first snowfall like we’ve been plowing snow all year,” said Wright. “Careful planning and preparation means our crews can mobilize when needed and our equipment will be ready.”
The Missouri Department of Transportation annually spends about $42 million to keep roads clear in the winter and help ensure motorists get to their destinations safely and quickly. For information on road conditions across the state, safe traveling tips and other winter weather information, visit www.modot.org.