Winter Maintenance

Plow tests
Article June 05, 2018
Clearing snow from roadways is an effort as old as roadways themselves, at least in cold climates.   Truck-mounted plows came into wide use in the 1920s. Abrasives such as sand, coal bottom ash or clinker were used to increase friction on icy roadways, once plowed. During the winter of 1941-42, New...
Snowplow training

All photos by Dave Gonzalez, Minnesota DOT.

Article February 02, 2018
In snowy states, winter maintenance crews deal with everything from freezing rain and black ice to blizzards and even avalanches.   To prepare plow drivers for whatever Mother Nature has in store, state DOTs and other agencies kick off each winter season with training classes.   While all states...
Mississippi winter
News December 11, 2017
In this video from the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), Melinda McGrath, P.E., executive director of MDOT, answers questions about the process for pre-treating and maintaining roadways during a winter weather event. Mississippi is currently experiencing ice on roads and bridges in...
Dual wing plow

Five recently configured dual-wing plows will be used primarily along eastern Oregon multi-lane freeways.

Article December 05, 2017
“Winter isn’t over til it’s summer.”   That’s the story heard from winter maintenance workers out on the roads in the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, as the mountain range sees snowfall from as early as September to as late as May. It is in this region that most of the snowplows in the state of Oregon...
Eric Hartmann
Article December 05, 2017
With winter now upon us, Roads & Bridges spoke with Eric Hartmann, vice president of sales and marketing for Tovar Snow Professionals, about best practices for snow and ice control, the importance of off-season training, and more.   RB: Your firm has offices all over the country, so you face...
black ice
News December 05, 2017
Winter road maintenance could be getting more efficient thanks to the Grip, a black-ice detection system from two Finnish research organizations.   The two firms—EEE Innovations and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland—developed the system to accurately detect slippery road conditions in real-...
WSDOT snow bridge

Image: WSDOT

News November 17, 2017
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) workers completed a second avalanche bridge on I-90 this past week in an eight-year effort to increase safety and traffic flow on Snoqualmie Pass.   The effort is part of phase one of a 15-mile project, stretching from Hyak to Easton. Phase one...
Salt brine Minnesota
Case Studies October 24, 2017
The city of St. Cloud and county of Anoka in Minnesota were both looking to enhance the performance of their salt brine operations. In 2015, St. Cloud used over 81,000 gal of salt brine and purchased 2,290 tons of salt. Anoka County is responsible for maintaining and clearing snow and ice from 423...
paraffin oil mix

Researchers from Drexel University, Purdue University and Oregon State University have discovered that adding paraffin oil to the mix for road concrete can give it the ability to melt ice and snow when temperatures fall. 

Image: Drexel University

Article September 28, 2017
Drexel University researchers have recently made a discovery that could create roads that deice themselves during winter storms. The secret? Adding a little paraffin wax to the road's concrete mix.   In a paper published for the journal Cement and Concrete Composites, researchers, led by Yaghoob...
snowy road
Article September 28, 2017
If you have ever built anything, you have probably heard the old saying, “Measure twice, cut once.”   The first time you did not follow it, you quickly learned the lesson. Making an accurate measurement is important, otherwise you end up wasting time. If you think of weather, have you ever wondered...
winter roads
News September 27, 2017
The town of Bancroft, Ontario, will hire contractor Carillion for this year’s winter maintenance operations on connecting link highways in town, a decision that rejects a proposal to keep those operations in-house.   Public Works Manager Perry Kelly had recently suggested that town staff should...
road maintenance
News September 27, 2017
Throughout the month of October, S.R. 18 in southern California will be closed between Snow Valley Mountain Resort and Big Bear Dam in San Bernardino County in preparation for winter.   The area known as the Arctic Circle will be closed to traffic Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Oct...
woven snow fence
Article September 06, 2017
According to the University of Minnesota, the topography and winter climate for a large portion of the Land of 10,000 Lakes causes the state to be particularly vulnerable to blowing and drifting snow on roadways.   This reality puts a particularly heavy burden on the state’s winter maintenance...
snow covered street
Article September 06, 2017
For winter maintenance agencies, snow and ice control is a vital function of their work to provide safe road conditions to the traveling public.   Effective and efficient snow-and-ice-control operations can result in significant economic, environmental and social benefits, so agencies strive to use...
Alaska winter maintenance
Article September 06, 2017
Many have heard the saying, “A smart person learns from his or her own mistakes while a wise person learns from the mistakes of others.”   Heeding this advice is certainly wise for any winter maintenance professional, but it is equally important to learn from the successes of others. In the face of...
The app organized data categorically.

The app organized data categorically.

Article September 06, 2017
“Why does this need to be so complicated and time-consuming?”   “Are we missing anything?”   “There has to be a better way!”   Those were some of the questions and remarks that both of us used to ask ourselves whenever the time came to sit down and write the snow plan for our municipalities, an all...
Mobile RWIS help fill in the gaps
Article June 06, 2017
Weather is a major factor in surface transportation—it impacts traffic flow and patterns, and is often a precursor to accidents, a significant portion of which result in injury or death.   During the period from late fall through early spring, all potential driving hazards are in play, from rain...
Snow removal cost Anchorage, Alaska, millions more this winter than previous years

Image source: Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News

News May 24, 2017
The city of Anchorage, Alaska, spent about $4 million more on snow removal last winter than in each of the previous two winters, but $5 million less than a winter five years ago with record-breaking snowfall, according to data provided by the city.   This year's snow maintenance price tag reflects...
City in Missouri works to protect environment during winter maintenance operations
Article May 24, 2017
The city of Columbia, Mo., is considered to be a full-service city, which means providing the basic city services of police, fire, street maintenance, health and parks & recreation. Other services such as water, electric, sewer, solid waste, airport and transit are provided as well. The city of...
Rain barrel system used by the Public Works Department
Article May 24, 2017
The city of Montgomery, Ohio, is a suburb of the greater Cincinnati area and is located approximately 15 miles northeast of downtown Cincinnati. An affluent community with a population of 10,261, the expectations and demands on the Public Works Department to maintain 95 lane miles of roadway during...
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