Winter is approaching in Missouri, and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) prepared for winter storms by holding a statewide drill on Oct. 31.
"The way MoDOT deals with snow is a year-around topic of conversation for many of our employees, and we are always looking for ways to improve our performance," said Beth Wright, MoDOT state maintenance engineer, "This year, we are trying something new that will allow us to test the readiness of employees and equipment."
During the statewide drill, Missouri will activate its emergency operations centers, and trucks with snowplows and spreaders will position 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."
"The crew will be working 24 hours per day during a snow storm removing snow and ice to make the roads as safe as possible," said Angela Eden, senior community relations specialist for MoDOT. "After a snowstorm, the main priority of the two main facilities in Cassville and Monett are to clear the major routes, such as 37, 60 and 112, and make them drivable. On roads with less traffic, usually the lettered roads, crews will treat hills, curves and intersections and make them as passable as possible."
In addition to winter drills, MoDOT has all maintenance employees complete winter-skills training that refreshes the crews on plowing snow. The training ensures correct equipment operation and reminds maintenance employees of plowing techniques and safety measures for the oncoming winter.
"Our ultimate goal is to attack the first winter storm like we have 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 the roads have been plowed."
MoDOT usually spends approximately $42 million to keep roads clear in the winter and ensure motorists arrive safely at their destination in winter weather.
For more information about road conditions, safety tips, and winter weather information, visit www.modot.org.