Plow preparation

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Though last night’s snow storm blanketed the higher elevations, here in Utah County, nothing stuck in the lower valleys. However, that doesn’t mean those who care for our roads aren’t watching the weather closely. UDOT is preparing to deal with coming wintery conditions.

As fall temperatures are dropping, UDOT is jumping into action. The process of preparation for oncoming snow takes more effort than people realize.

UDOT roadway supervisor, Mike Cole described the many pieces that need to be taken care of, “We’ve been fixing hydraulic hoses, we’ve been replacing blades, we’ve been replacing plow markers; we’re checking all the tires, wipers, all our lights, the whole operation of the truck.”

Once the trucks are well tuned, prepping the roads becomes UDOT’s biggest concern.

A process called “pre-wetting the streets” takes place before the snow arrives. UDOT drivers take damp salt and spread it throughout the roads. They keep a brine hub at their Orem station. Twenty four hours before a storm comes, UDOT workers will drive their routes spraying their mixture over the streets. This helps stop the snow from packing, which helps it melt faster.

UDOT Region 3 Public Involvement Manager, Muriel Xochimitl, describes how UDOT is ahead of the curve when it comes to up-to-date prepping processes. She describes their brine system saying, “It’s a proactive way to make sure the roads are safe. It’s more innovative, it’s cheaper and it’s a way that we plan ahead to get the things done.”

For the first time at their Orem station, workers will have access to the “toll truck”, a vehicle that does as much work as two and a half snow plows. It has not just the twelve-foot blade in front, but a trailing twenty-seven foot blade following close behind. It’s big enough to plow two street lanes.

Since today’s snow isn’t sticking in Utah Valley, UDOT isn’t spreading salt yet. Until then, Cole’s team will continue performing “dry runs,” practicing for their winter routes.

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