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MDOT plow trucks slowing down to 25 mph this winter in Southwest Michigan

Contact: Nick Schirripa, MDOT Office of Communications,
Agency: Transportation

Fast Facts:

- MDOT Southwest Region snowplow trucks will be driving 25 mph this year, down from 35-45 mph.
- The slower speed is expected to save 30-40 percent salt in Southwest Region, saving over $100,000 annually, and create safer road conditions.
- Motorists need to be cautious driving near the slower-moving trucks.

November 28, 2011 -- This winter, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) snowplow trucks will be slowing down to 25 mph in the nine-county Southwest Region when salting state roadways in an effort to improve effectiveness and safety. Motorists are strongly urged to drive with caution near these slower-moving trucks, and provide snowplows enough "room to groom."

MDOT's Southwest Region includes Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties.

The 25 mph maximum is a nationally recommended standard speed for salt trucks. This slower speed reduces the bounce and scatter of salt spread at faster speeds, resulting in more salt on the roadway and less salt wasted. MDOT Southwest Region trucks previously spread salt at speeds between 35 and 45 mph. More salt on the roadway means safer road conditions for motorists, as well. While motorists will have to be alert for the slower trucks, this effort will lead to less ice and snow on roads.

"This change in our salting practices is designed to reduce costs and increase our effectiveness and efficiency," said MDOT Southwest Region Maintenance Superintendent Rich Hassenzahl. "But safety is always the top goal. While the roads will be salted better this way, motorists still need to be aware of our plow trucks moving at a slower speed, especially on our freeways."

MDOT estimates it will use 30 to 40 percent less salt this year in the Southwest Region, resulting in savings of more than $100,000 annually.

The increased effectiveness of MDOT salting efforts also is expected to reduce the number of times routes need to be salted. This reduction in miles driven means less wear and tear on MDOT equipment, which will extend the equipment's life and reduce maintenance costs.

MDOT reminds drivers: Snowplows need room to groom.