For the first time in Michigan, MDOT will use a new type of snow plow called The Tow Plow can plow widths up to 25 feet - up to two full lane widths in one pass - allowing MDOT to save on equipment costs and personnel.
When activated, the wheels of the Tow Plow turn as much as 30 degrees, causing the Tow Plow to steer right of the plow truck. When in use, the Tow Plow works similar to a wing plow, only with greater reach.
The Tow Plow also will be equipped with a salt hopper, with room for a spreader to be mounted on the plow. All controls
for the Tow Plow and its accessories are mounted within the cab of the plow truck.
Other states successfully using Tow Plows include Missouri, Minnesota, Maine, Wisconsin, Utah, and Ohio.
Where Will It Be Used?
The first Tow Plow in Michigan was used in 2013 on I-96 and US-23 near Brighton; I-75 and US-2 in Mackinac City; and I-94 in Kalamazoo and Portage.
By using the Tow Plow, crews can clear both the travel lane and shoulder in one pass, thus reducing the time needed to clear the freeway during a winter storm event. This will improve service while reducing labor costs and fuel consumption on these busy roadways with high traffic volumes.
The cost of the new Tow Plow is $93,000. With regular maintenance, the Tow Plow has an average service life of 30 years, compared to a 10-year average for a standard plow.
MDOT reminds drivers that motorists should keep a safe distance between their vehicles and snowplows.