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Tow Plow

MDOT Tow Plow in action on I-96 in MDOT's University Region.
Department of Transportation

Tow Plow

A tow plow is a plow truck that can clear up to two full lane widths (approximately 25 feet) in one pass. This allows crews to clear both the travel lane and shoulder at one time, which reduces the time needed to clear a freeway during a winter storm event. This will improve service while reducing labor and equipment costs, as well as fuel consumption on busy roads with high traffic volumes.

When activated, the wheels of a tow plow turn as much as 30 degrees, causing it to steer right of the plow truck. When in use, the tow plow works similar to a wing plow, only with greater reach. It is also 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.

The cost of the new tow plow is approximately $93,000. With regular maintenance, the it has an average service life of 30 years, compared to a 10-year average for a standard plow. MDOT has approximately 17 tow plows in service throughout Michigan.

Reminder: Always keep a safe distance between your vehicle and snowplows. 

Snowplows Need Room to Groom