JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Department of Transportation crews are once again kicking into high gear in preparation for the upcoming snow and ice season. They are busy checking and repairing equipment, stockpiling supplies and testing emergency preparedness operations to ensure motorists get where they're going safely when winter weather hits.
"Snow removal is one of our top priorities, and our maintenance workers are well-trained in handling winter weather emergencies," Assistant Chief Engineer Don Hillis said. "When snow or ice hit, we'll mobilize our people and equipment to get the snow off the road, and we'll stay with it until all roads have been plowed."
Hillis said the department has worked hard to be more efficient in its snow removal activities, and those efforts have paid off. The department used 69,733 tons less salt last winter despite a statewide average of six more inches of winter precipitation.
"We had a record snow on Feb. 1 that closed Interstate 70 for the first time in history, and still spent $11 million less on snow and ice removal last year than we did the winter before. That means more money for projects," he said.
Hillis said MoDOT's statewide plan of attack remains the same as in previous years. Crews will focus on getting roads drivable in bad weather by treating the highest-traveled major roads and regionally significant roads first until they are mostly clear. All the remaining less-traveled roads will be plowed to allow for two-way traffic, concentrating on hills, curves and intersections. MoDOT crews will again be using plows that can cover more roads in a single pass such as TowPlows, wing plows and 14-foot plows.
The best plan of attack for drivers when winter weather hits is to consult MoDOT's Traveler Information Map at http://www.modot.org/. When snow and ice are falling, the map lets travelers know whether a highway is closed, covered, partly covered, mostly clear or clear.
For information on road conditions across the state, road condition pictures, safe traveling tips and a diagram on driveway clearing techniques, visit http://www.modot.org/road_conditions/snowplowingintro.htm or call 888-ASK MODOT.
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MoDOT Highlights Snow Fight Stats
JEFFERSON CITY - 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. Here's a look at some other statistics from last year's snow fight:
•· Tons of salt used: 159,181
•· Gallons of beet juice (an anti-icing product made from sugar beets) used: 424,152
•· Hours worked by maintenance crews to keep roads clear: 574,105
•· Miles of pavement MoDOT is responsible for plowing: 76,256
•· Number of workers available for snow removal: 3,600
•· Number of snow plows used: 1,566
•· Number of Traveler Information Map views: 4 million
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