Arizona isn’t known for its harsh, winter weather conditions, but that doesn’t mean we don’t see some considerable snowfall during our colder months.
In fact, areas up in the state’s high country already had their first snowfall this season and more is on its way. So, what better time to make sure you’re ready for the winter season ahead?
ADOT certainly is ready ... as part of the department’s winter safety operations, we remove snow and ice during and after storms to keep highways open for motorists and businesses. Our snowplows are serviced and ready, our operators are prepared and our maintenance yards are stocked with deicer materials and equipment!
A few facts about snowplows and snow removal …
ADOT has 395 employees who are trained and have commercial driver licenses, which are required to operate a snowplow.
These employees go through a lot of training. Before they can become a certified snowplow operator, employees have to go through 4-8 hours in the classroom, 8-16 hours training in a snowplow simulator and at least 40 hours of on-the-job training.
Snowplow operators typically work 12-hour shifts during winter storms.
ADOT has 196 snowplow trucks in its fleet. Each snowplow costs about $250,000 and they are funded with state funds from the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF).
This year, ADOT is adding 15 new snowplows to its fleet. They’ll replace some of our older snowplows. (We’ll tell you more about this tomorrow!)
ADOT is fully stocked with deicer chemicals. There are about 24,000 tons of Ice Slicer (granular product seen in video above) available statewide along with liquid magnesium chloride (a naturally occurring salt mineral).
You can see in the video above, ADOT crews are out there right in the middle of the storm, making sure the state’s roads are as safe as possible.
“Our main concern is to keep the roadways open, to keep them safe for the traveling public and to get the information out that the conditions may change as they drive,” says Flagstaff Maintenance Engineer Chuck Gillick.
While our snowplow drivers do their part to keep the roads open, motorists play a big role when it comes to safety, too …
For information on how to stay safe when driving in snowy conditions, you can visit ADOT’s “Know Snow” webpage
. From maps to a look at how ADOT removes snow, the page includes some great tools you’ll want to check out.
“The main thing that drivers can do is be informed about the weather conditions and to just slow down, let the plows do their job and just have a safe ride and realize its going to take a little bit longer to get to where they’re going than under ordinary conditions,” says Gillick.