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Ice & snow .. you’ll have to take it slow

November 17, 2010 - Rob Weaver
Have you ever followed a snowplow down a four-lane highway during a snowstorm and — despite having the perfect escort — been tempted to pass the truck?

Sure, you’re driving allow on freshly-cleared pavement. (Heck, a snowplow would be wonderful interference to have while the deer are on the move). But the blade is kicking up snow, and it’s moving at a more prudent speed. ...

Well, the Ohio Department of Transportation plans to test a snow-plow setup that would remove all temptation (see photo).

ODOT today announced plans to test a new type of snowplow this winter that would allow crews to clear ice and snow up to twice as fast. ODOT says crews in Ashtabula County have been training to use a snow plow equipped with a tow plow -- a secondary 26-foot blade attached to the side of a trailer.

“When the snowplow is in motion, the attached tow-plow trailer swings to the right or left and across the next lane,” states an ODOT news release. “The trailer's blade is then dropped allowing one truck to clear two parallel lanes, a job which would take two trucks with one plow each. ”

Not only can the rig clear a 22-foot-wide swath of pavement with one pass, but both lanes of traffic can be treated with salt or brine solution.

Why Ashtabula County? ODOT says the county in the northeast corner of the state gets an average of 140-150 inches of snow each winter. Crews there are to try out the tow plow on Interstate 90 and SR 11 this season before ODOT decides whether to deploy them statewide.

Viking Cives Ltd. of Ontario, Canada, is loaning ODOT a tow plow, which can cost $65,000-$90,000 each.


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Blog Photos

A look at the tow-plow in action.