Snow has yet to make its way into our forecast this year, but motorists may see trucks equipped with snowplows and spreaders on Missouri Highways on Wednesday. Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross talk to MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright:
Wright says the drill is an effort to be prepared for approaching winter weather. “We understand that snow removal is our highest priority and we also know that we have gone through a lot of changes during the last year,” said Wright,” We want to do a drill that will help us work out any bugs that we have in our plans because we fully intend to perform our snow removal activities.”
Wright says motorists can expect to see an increase of MoDOT vehicles on the roadways. “We are sending out simulated winter weather advisories to our districts,” said Wright,” We’re providing specific drill forecasts to them. We will do a statewide drill where we will get our trucks with plows and spreaders on the road so that we can make sure that we have all of our routes covered, that we understand how long it takes us to run those routes, and that all of our equipment matches our trucks.”
The drill is expected to begin at 8:00 a.m. in rural areas and last approximately six hours.
The leaves fall, the temperatures drop, and before
you know it, winter has settled across Missouri.
While you’re still hunting for the ice scraper, the Missouri
Department of Transportation started preparing for the first winter storm
months ago. In fact, MoDOT employees will put their preparations to the
test by holding the department’s first statewide winter operations drill on
“The way MoDOT deals with snow is a year-round topic of conversation
for many of our employees, and we’re always looking for ways to improve our
performance,” said State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright. “This year,
we’re trying something new that will allow us to test the readiness of
employees and equipment.”
During the statewide winter operations drill, MoDOT will activate its
emergency operations centers, and trucks with snowplows and spreaders will
deploy across state routes in response to a simulated snowfall event.
“We have a detailed plan and our trucks drive set routes that allow
us to work efficiently and make the most of our resources,” said Wright.
“This exercise gives us a chance to measure that snowplow circuit and
better anticipate response times when it really does snow.”
Motorists may notice increased numbers of MoDOT vehicles on state
routes during the drill. In rural areas, crews will deploy after 8 a.m. In
urban areas, the drill will not begin until after 9 a.m. Wright estimates
that the exercise will take approximately six hours.
The drill isn’t the only element to MoDOT’s winter weather
operations. All maintenance employees complete an annual winter skills
training that serves as a refresher course for plowing snow. The training
assures that proper equipment operation, plowing techniques and safety
measures are fresh on employees’ minds as winter approaches.
“Our ultimate goal is to attack that first storm like we’ve been
plowing snow all year,” said Wright. “With careful planning and
preparation, our crews will mobilize, equipment will be ready, and we can
stay with it until all roads have been plowed.”
The Missouri Department of Transportation annually spends about $42
million to keep roads clear in the winter and help ensure motorists get to
their destinations safely and quickly. For information on road conditions
across the state, safe traveling tips, and other winter weather
information, visit www.modot.org.