New Technologies Help Crews Clear Roads
14 more trucks to spread salt brine to prevent roads from icing over, new salt grinders that speed up melting, and new blades underneath plows that scrape roads better are among the new technologies the Dane County Highway Department is utilizing this winter to help keep highways clear.
County Executive Kathleen Falk and Public Works, Highways, and Transportation Director Jerry Mandli showcased the new equipment and discussed preparations for a complex winter storm at a news conference Monday afternoon.
“It remains to be seen if we’ll spend the next several months digging out like we did last winter, but with the best equipment available and a tireless work ethic, our highway crews are ready for whatever this winter brings,” Falk said.
Falk noted that among the improvements used by the highway department this winter are the addition of an extra plow to clear the interstate, a new temporary salt shed right off the interstate along with a new permanent salt storage facility serving the northeast part of the county at Highway 151 and County Highway V, and a new water line that helps mix salt brine quicker for plows to apply.
“With everything from accumulating ice and heavy snow to strong winds, this storm is shaping up to be a complex one to counter but we’re ready and going to work hard to keep highways as safe as possible,” Mandli said.
The Dane County Highway Department has an annual operating budget of around $19-million. Nearly 100 highly-trained, experienced snow plow operators use 58 snow plows to keep county and state highways clear.