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The Missouri Department of Transportation activated its statewide winter operations drill Wednesday. As KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports, the drill is designed to ensure that MoDOT and city employees are prepared for dangerous weather when the temperature drops.
[SOUND: snowplow driving..]
The sight of a snowplow on a sunny, 60 degree Wednesday afternoon might have been a little strange for motorists in Southwest Missouri. But as part of MoDOT’s statewide winter operations drill, 286 trucks with snowplows and spreaders were deployed across the the Southwest District to simulate a winter snowfall. The Southwest District covers 21 counties in Southwest Missouri. Michael Middleton with MoDOT says the goal is for drivers to become familiar with their routes well ahead of the winter storms.
“A lot of our success comes from making sure that we’re on the routes at the right time, we’re in front of the storm, we’re anticipating as best we can where to be and how to treat those storms,” Middleton said.
Middleton says Southwest District has almost 700 snowplow drivers ready for the winter months, along with 29,000 tons of road salt in storage. As part of MoDOT’s winter weather operations, these drivers will complete an annual winter skills training. This training is designed to refresh their minds on plowing techniques, safety procedures, and how to operate equipment properly.
According to Middleton, another part of the training involves updating the traveler information map.
“How do we communicate. How do we make sure that what we see on the roads is the same thing that the travelling public is experiencing. How do we communicate by our dynamic message boards, our message boards across the city and also up and down I-44 throughout the Southwest district,” Middleton said.
According to a press release, MoDOT annually spends about $42 million in winter operations.
For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.