S.D. to continue to take different approach to winter maintenance—less service, more technology

Method saved the agency $2.6 million last year and kept the roads safe

News The Capital Journal October 29, 2010
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South Dakota plans to use more information than salt to fight its snow-packed roads this winter.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) announced it has budgeted $1.4 million less for winter maintenance activities heading into 2011. Last winter, SDDOT marked just over $18 million for snow-fighting purposes, but just over $15.5 million was actually used. The $2.6 million in savings came during the state’s worst winter in over a decade.

SDDOT plans to lean on the power of communication, and will use names of cities and landmarks instead of mile markers when passing information about conditions on to motorists. The agency also plans on doing what it did last season, which involves less sand usage and a reduction in the hours of service.

Gone is the 24-7 standard that was in place for major highways and interstates outside of cities, and overnight service will continue to be reduced. Winter maintenance operations will commence between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m.

“If we see normal conditions, we should be good,” Greg Fuller, SDDOT’s director of operations, said.

Other changes for motorists include:

A map with a better zoom-in feature will be available on the Safe Travel USA website; and

The SDDOT is working on a new feature called ClearPath511 where road conditions will be sent via text and e-mail to people who subscribe.

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