FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — The state of Connecticut has unveiled a new weapon to fight snow-covered highways in the next bad winter storm.
The new innovative tow-behind snowplows can clear two highway lanes of snow and ice in a single pass — all while saving money, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker last Tuesday debuted the state’s new fleet of three tow-behind plows. Towed in the rear of a truck, the plows measure 26 feet in length, essentially doubling the width of a single plow truck when in operation, and will boost the state’s overall handling of winter maintenance and snow-clearing operations on state roads.
“These advanced snow plows will make a difference when it comes to clearing our highways following winter weather events,” Malloy said. “It’s our goal to be prepared for severe weather events the best we can, and the addition of these tow plows will increase our efforts to safely clear the roads so that schools and businesses can re-open more quickly and emergency services can reach those who need them.”
As part of its efforts to find ways to improve efficiencies during winter storms, CTDOT tested one of the tow plows under a pilot program during the 2015-16 winter. This year, the agency purchased two additional units. The supersized tow plows will help the agency improve cycle times and reduce overall fuel consumption associated with snow clearing operations. These new plows will join a fleet of 634 plow trucks operated by the state.
When in operation, the steerable trailer-mounted tow plows swing out to one side of the truck and are equipped with a granular spreader for dispensing liquids for snow and ice control.
“Clearing snow and ice from our roads and highways during winter storms is one of our most critical functions as an agency,” Redeker said. “With the winter season upon us, the addition of these tow plows to our snow-fighting fleet ensures we can better handle virtually any winter-weather event in an efficient and strategic manner, while reducing costs to the taxpayer.”
Officials also urged drivers to stay clear of the snowplows while on the road and cautioned against trying to pass a snowplow or snowplow echelon when it is in operation.
The safest advice is for motorists to give the plows plenty of space, don't attempt to pass them, and to keep in mind that the road behind the snow plows is in better condition than the road ahead.
In addition to improving efficiency, the tow plows have safety benefits, such as rear and side mounted cameras, lights that both illuminate the plow area and provide a warning to nearby motorists, and a mounted laser to guide and determine the position of the tow plow when fully extended in relation to roadside obstacles and other vehicles.
CTDOT’s winter maintenance and snow-clearing operations cover a roadway network of over 10,800 highway lane-miles. Its current Severe Service Snow and Ice Fleet consists of 634 plow trucks that are stationed at 50 garages around the state, as well as materials and personnel to clear state roadways.
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