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MDOT is naming snowplows and everyone can help
January 17, 2021 -- Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) snowplows now will have a special and personal touch on the department's interactive Mi Drive map. Inspired in part by TrafficScotland.org, MDOT has started giving snowplows unique and creative names on the Mi Drive map. Current names include Plowasaurus Rex, Sir Salts-A-Lot, and Snowboni, and were chosen from hundreds of public offerings.
Yes, Plowy McPlowface is on the list.
Among the submissions were three special names: Tiger, Chill Bill, and Frosty, all from Roxane Gilbert's 5th Grade students at Fair Plain East Elementary in Benton Harbor. Tiger, the school's mascot, is now the name of one of the plows along M-63 near the school.
"We are excited that these snowplows will reflect our students' creativity," Fair Plain East Principal Brian Litten said. "Going forward, this partnership with MDOT will open the doors for our students to recognize career opportunities."
Starting with several snowplows in MDOT's Southwest Region, MDOT is hopeful to name each of the more than 250 MDOT plows statewide in the near future.
"This idea really was driven by people who reached out to us and wanted to know how they could name our plows like those in other places," Nick Schirripa, MDOT spokesman, said. "There was so much positive energy and excitement generated so quickly for this idea, it was contagious. We couldn't help but give the idea some legs and get some fantastic ideas for names."
To see each snowplow's name, visit Mi Drive at www.Michigan.gov/Drive and activate the MDOT snowplow tracker map layer. By hovering over an icon, the plow name will appear. Clicking on the icon will show the name and a description of what the truck is doing, as well a driver's seat view of current road conditions through the snowplow cameras.
"We hoped this could be both fun and instructive and we're thrilled with the participation from students and others in the community," said MDOT Director Paul C. Ajegba. "I love many of the suggestions, and I can’t wait to see more."
School and community groups are encouraged to submit ideas as an organization, in essence adopting a snowplow as their own and creating opportunities to learn more about snowplowing operations, winter driving, and other transportation-related safety topics.
More names are needed, and everyone is welcomed to participate. Go to www.Michigan.gov/NameMISnowplow and submit your ideas. There are a few guidelines. To be considered, suggestions must be G-rated and family friendly, and submissions that include famous, character, or brand names cannot be used. Staff from each of MDOT's seven regions will be able to select their own plow names from the list.