State DOTs Ready for Winter Weather

Supplies, contractors training, and practice all contribute to their preparation for plowing operations.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has set aside more than $205 million for winter weather operations, but a neighboring state to the north has budgeted even more: Pennsylvania's DOT, known as PennDOT, has budgeted $228 million for statewide 2018-2019 winter operations, the AASHTO Journal reported recently.

The New York State Department of Transportation announced Oct. 25 that it hoped to hire 470 permanent and seasonal maintenance staff, with the goal of having them ready to plow snow as soon as the winter weather begins. The New York State department employs approximately 3,900 full-time snow and ice operators and supervisors, plus about 300 seasonal operators. They are responsible for pre-treating, plowing, and removing ice from more than 34,000 miles of roadway.

"Once again, we are looking for hard-working, dedicated professionals to join our agency," Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said Oct. 25. "Our maintenance forces are the lifeblood of everything we do at NYSDOT, especially during snow and ice season. Keeping our roads safe this winter is a top priority for the department, and a dedicated workforce is front and center in these efforts." The new hires will be trained and evaluated on several pieces of essential equipment and are expected to perform productive work while gaining experience.”

PennDOT's crews are responsible for keeping about 40,000 miles of roadways clear. Its budget for the winter covers the cost of operating 2,200 department-owned and rented plow trucks, deploying about 4,500 on-the-road workers, and 620,000 tons of salt now on hand -- as well as to purchase further salt deliveries throughout the winter on an as-needed basis, according to the AASHTO Journal article.

"We prepare for winter throughout the year," said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. "With more than 128,000 lane miles of roadways to maintain statewide, our crews and staffs work tirelessly to train, place orders for materials, learn snow routes, ready our equipment, and make the most of new technology. Our goal is to keep everyone safe."

VDOT reported it has more than 2,500 workers and additional contractors available for snow removal statewide, more than 11,700 pieces of snow-removal equipment ready, and more than 700,000 tons of salt, sand, and treated abrasives and more than 2.1 million gallons of liquid calcium chloride and salt brine stockpiled.

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