Jefferson City- Winter will be here soon, and the Missouri Department of Transportation is prepared for the cold and wet weather that’s quickly approaching.
“We make sure we’re prepared for winter weather by November 1, so we know we’re ready well in advance,” said Jim Carney, MoDOT state maintenance engineer. “Ensuring that state highways are cleared of snow and ice is one of the most important services we provide, so we make sure we’re stocked up and ready for action before the first snowflake falls.”
More than 2,800 MoDOT workers are available for snow-removal duty any time day or night. “Our crews across the state do an excellent job, in difficult conditions, of keeping the roadways open and as safe as possible,” Carney said.
MoDOT spends about $30 million a year on labor, materials and equipment for snow and ice removal. Approximately, 1,800 vehicles are ready to improve driving conditions as soon as possible, and about 210,000 tons of salt are on hand to help melt snow and ice.
During inclement weather, MoDOT prioritizes all roads to quickly assist the largest number of travelers. Roads with the highest traffic volumes are treated and cleared first. These include interstate highways and other major routes, which are continuously plowed and treated throughout a storm.
The most heavily traveled sections of other routes are the next priority, and although they are plowed until they’re open to traffic, they are not continuously treated with salt. These routes will be treated with salt where snow and ice conditions may make driving more difficult, such as steep hills, sharp curves, intersections, and bridges.
Lower volume routes are cleared last.
MoDOT plows roads as often as necessary to keep them open. This may mean several trips on the same route, where private driveway entrances can become blocked with cleared snow. The department provides a diagram on its web site to help alleviate the problem. Clearing an open spot next to the driveway, in the direction of oncoming traffic, creates an area for plows to place snow, resulting in a smaller amount going into driveways.
“The best advice we have for motorists is to stay safe at home during snowstorms,” Carney said. “If you need to drive, give snowplows plenty of room and don’t pass them. Always stay alert and drive cautiously, especially during the winter season.”
Information on road conditions across the state, safe traveling tips and diagram on driveway clearing techniques are all available at MoDOT’s Internet site at www.modot.org, under the road conditions heading. The web site includes a revamped winter road conditions section. During inclement weather, up-to-the-minute pavement conditions are now available for many of the state’s highways.
Information is also available by calling MoDOT customer service toll free at (888) ASK MoDOT. Recorded road condition information is available through the state’s toll free road conditions number, (800) 222-6400.