MDOT Southwest Region continues focus on winter safety

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

Safety benefits:
- Most MDOT Southwest Region plow trucks will feature green beacons for increased visibility and safety.
- Southwest Region maintenance forces and local partners maintain about 3,000 lane-miles of I, M, and US routes in seven counties.
- MDOT employs 140 operators in seven garages with 83 trucks to maintain 63 snow routes.

Southwest region plow truck
Southwest region plow truck

October 27, 2017 -- As the 2017 road construction season winds to a close, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Southwest Region maintenance forces are making the transition into winter operations. Salt barns are being topped off, plow blades are going back on trucks, and operators are reviewing their routes.

Over the past couple winters, MDOT and several counties around the state have been adding green beacons to go along with existing amber beacons on plow trucks. This year, 71 of the Southwest Region's 83 trucks have green and amber beacons. The green beacons are demonstrated to be more visible in winter weather conditions. To watch
a video on the safety benefits of green beacons on plow trucks, visit MDOT's YouTube channel.

"MDOT continues to increase the use of technology to improve the winter driving experience," said MDOT Southwest Region Associate Engineer of Operations Janine Cooper. "By installing green lights on the winter maintenance trucks, we are demonstrating our commitment to safety and mobility."

"Although every winter is different, we continue to incorporate new tools to improve safety and efficiency," said MDOT Southwest Region Maintenance Superintendent Lisa Marsh-McCarty.

The Southwest Region comprises seven counties: Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren. Altogether, there are about 3,000 lane-miles of state trunkline (I, M, and US routes) for which MDOT is responsible. With the help of two contract counties (Branch and Calhoun) and several municipalities, MDOT employs 140 operators, 83 trucks and seven garages to cover 63 snow routes.

The garages start each winter with about 36,600 tons at an average cost of $42.77 per ton. An additional 39,400 tons is available if needed. MDOT operators average about 6 lane-miles per ton of salt.

The public will be able to track MDOT plow trucks on the Mi Drive website by selecting the snowplows layer on the map legend. Clicking on individual icons on the map provides information on the plow's activity, with some featuring a real-time operator's view from the cab of the plow truck.