Governor Mike Pence has declared this week, Nov. 13 through 19, as Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Indiana.
The Indiana Department of Transportation began preparing for the upcoming winter season soon after the snow and ice melted last spring. INDOT’s top winter priority is removing snow and preventing ice on more than 11,000 miles of interstates, U.S. highways and state routes.
Salt in stock
Last winter, 211,428 tons of granular salt and more than 2.8 million gallons of salt brine were deployed on state and federal highways. INDOT continues to receive deliveries of salt and already has more than 225,000 tons on hand.
This year INDOT’s winter operations will benefit from four new salt storage structures built through its long-term facility replacement program. New facilities near Logansport and Monticello in northwest Indiana and near Loogootee and NSA Crane in southwest Indiana provide a higher storage capacity and much quicker and safer salt loading for improved efficiency during winter operations.
New plow equipment
Last winter, INDOT’s yellow plow trucks logged nearly 3.8 million miles – the equivalent of 152 trips around the earth or 8 round trips to moon.
INDOT will have more than 1,000 plow trucks available to clear roads of snow and ice this winter. INDOT purchased 72 new trucks to replace older equipment and 12 new tow plows – making 22 available for this winter. The tow plow is pulled behind and to the side of a INDOT plow truck, allowing one driver to clear two lanes at once.
INDOT recently completed inspections of its snow and ice equipment. Each year, INDOT’s yellow plow trucks undergo a full bumper-to-bumper examination as inspectors look for mechanical defects in need of repair. Special attention is paid to the trucks’ steering, engine and brakes. INDOT mechanics perform any needed repairs before the first snowfall.
Hiring, training snowfighters
Last year during winter operations, INDOT staff logged 202,168 hours—the equivalent of nearly 17,000 12-hour shifts. Mechanics, salt loaders and radio operators support INDOT’s snowfighters to keep the trucks running around the clock when needed.
INDOT has been holding job fairs and aggressively hiring seasonal and full-time workers over the past few months. Applications are still being accepted for some locations at www.in.gov/indot/3163.htm.
Both plow operators and supervisors attend classroom training to learn new technology and techniques. Plow operators are already familiarizing themselves with their snow routes. Operational planning meetings are being completed this month with Indiana State Police and local officials.
INDOT spent the warmer months resurfacing and sealing state highways to prevent water from seeping into the pavement and forming potholes. This year INDOT has repaved 580 miles and sealed more than 1,200 lane miles of interstates, U.S. highways and state routes.
Later this week INDOT will provide information about what motorists can do to prepare for winter weather. Subscribe to receive text and email alerts at http://bit.ly/INDOTsubscription.
INDOT will also be posting to social media for Winter Weather Preparedness Week with posts tagged #INDOTWinterOps. Find links to INDOT’s regional Facebook and Twitter pages at http://bit.ly/INDOTsocial.