Mn/DOT Unveils New Snow-Clearing Equipment

Updated: 03/21/2014 6:12 PM
Created: 03/21/2014 10:28 AM
By: Travis Dill

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is debuting a new piece of snow removal equipment. The 26-foot-wide, trailer-mounted plow may look off-kilter, but the agency says it will clear snow efficiently and safely from two lanes of roadway.

“It's very intimidating for the public when they first see it,” Plow Driver Josiah Davey said.

He said, with the flick of a few switches, hydraulics sweep the trailer out beside his plow truck. Plowing two lanes with just one truck will save time and money according to Davey.

“It'll take the place of another truck basically behind me. I can do, like I said, two full lanes. It would take the place of another truck and be able to put down material at the same time,” Davey said.

The trailer can carry sand or salt for the road, but it has a top speed of 40 mph. That could cause some backups in traffic, and Davey said the old warning to stay back from plows is even more important with this new piece of equipment.

“My best advice is to stay way back . It deploys to the right, which makes a big blind spot behind the truck,” Davey said.

The trailer will free up a plow during snowstorms like the one that hit the Northland on Friday so Davey said it should pay for itself quickly.

“They're fairly expensive $80,000 or $90,000, but versus a $180,000 truck and another employee their cost effective in the long run,” Davey said.

But he and the other drivers are enjoying the new toy.

“I love it. We haven't had it out a whole bunch this winter, but what we have seen with it is it's going to be an asset to our shop,” Davey said.

Mn/DOT has just one tow plow, but could be looking for more if funding is available. The trailer may be a new sight here in the Northland, but it has been proven effective in the Twin Cities and other states.


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