Winter Maintenance

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...

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...
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...
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...

Image source: West Central Tribune (Willmar, Minn.)

News April 21, 2017
Two local landowners have teamed up with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) in District 8 to improve safety on the notorious stretch of Highway 67 west of Granite Falls by building a permanent snow fence.   The landowners and MnDOT have installed a 1,500-ft fence, or approximately ¼...

Snow drift held in check by roadside ditch, beyond which sits the living fence.

Article February 22, 2017
In Iowa, preparation for snow season never ends. Much of the warm weather work takes the form of planning for and planting living snow fences.   Living snow fences as a concept are nothing new. Their use harkens back to the windbreaks that protected farmsteads in the 1930s. As early as the 1960s,...
Article February 22, 2017
To the men and women who handle snow operations in Denver, twenty deployments each season to plow nearly 5 ft of annual snow is just another day at the office. It goes with the job, and the staff handle the shift changes and varying conditions with aplomb. Like much of the country, however, Denver...
News February 20, 2017
Visit our homepage and take this week's poll question, which discusses maintenance challenges for the 2016-2017 winter.

Image source: ADOT

News February 15, 2017
Sensors installed at three Interstate 40 locations west of Flagstaff are helping the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) forecast the likelihood of ice forming and respond accordingly.   The combination of freezing temperatures and moisture means ice can form overnight in Arizona’s high...
News December 19, 2016
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has announced plans to begin using rock salt to augment its use of magnesium chloride solution for ice and snow control on roads across the state.   Specific problem areas, such as steep hills, will get the rock salt to speed melting and improve...

Photo source: MDOT via Mining Journal

News December 19, 2016
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is banking on connected vehicle technology to help clear snow and ice from roadways faster. GPS-based automatic vehicle location devices, which the agency began installing on its winter road maintenance equipment in 2013, report where each truck is,...
Article December 05, 2016
There’s a 100% chance that the weather will change. The best tool road crews have to get out ahead of that changing weather is time. Having to “chase a storm” is costly and dangerous. Nobody’s happy: citizens, government officials, schools, businesses and least of all, the snow fighters who may...
News October 10, 2016
Visit our homepage and take this week's poll question, which looks ahead to winter and considers what protocols ought to be top-of-the-pile for agencies.
Case Studies September 28, 2016
Until recently, Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) snowplow truck operators manually completed a work order documenting their spreading activities after each shift. At times, however, the orders were too generalized and lacked details needed by ITD fleet managers for analyzing operations. “...

The Clear Roads survey asked state winter maintenance departments for information about their vehicle fleets as well as add-on features. Courtesy Michigan Department of Transportation.

Article August 29, 2016
A single grain of salt weighs mere milligrams, but numbers add up quickly in the winter maintenance world.   States measure annual salt use by the ton. A fleet of plow trucks can be in the thousands. A state’s annual winter maintenance expenses are typically in the tens (or hundreds) of millions of...
Article August 29, 2016
In 2010, Bicycling Magazine named Minneapolis, Minn., as the No. 1 bike city in the U.S.   The publication went on to say that the unforgiving and frigid Midwestern city is the country’s top spot to be an urban cyclist. Now we just have to figure out why. When I heard about that, I thought to...
Article August 29, 2016
Snowplow vehicles often perform in conditions of limited visibility, including darkness, fog, and falling or blowing snow.   The primary purpose of equipping snowplows with lighting is to make the roadway more visible for the operators, so they can complete their work safely. However, lighting also...
Article August 29, 2016
Gravel and loose-top surfaced roads were, in the earliest days of roadbuilding, pretty much all you got.   These roads made up the majority of mileage for any municipal agency. Maintaining these loose-top roads became the training ground for many operators both at the municipal and contracted level...

MaineDOT has outfitted its snowplow trucks with an electronic spreader control system that accurately records the amount of granular materials and liquids applied to winter roadways.

Article August 29, 2016
Twenty-five years ago the goal for a winter road-maintenance fleet manager was straightforward—keep highways safe for travelers and don’t worry too much about the amount of salt applied to roadway surfaces.   Automating key snow- and ice-control systems was not on any fleet manager’s short list of...
Article June 07, 2016
Snow removal season is prime time for road maintenance workers.   Venturing out into the bitter, wintry weather in their snowplows or winter maintenance vehicles, crews are tasked with protecting the average citizen from the perils of snowstorms by eliminating snow and ice from major roads and...
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