Springfield, MO--Before you even think of snow or ice--Missouri Department of Transportation buys salt and other products in the middle of summer to prepare for whatever old man winter may bring. Even if a blizzard hit today crews at MODOT say everything is in place to keep roads open. "All of that is ready to go so that when we do have winter weather strike our crews are ready to go, equipment is ready to go, and our material is ready to go." says Angela Eden MODOT Spokesperson.
There are 700 crew members in southwest Missouri on standby to salt and clear roads. MODOT has let 1,200 employees go due to budget cuts. But Angela Eden says all of the maintenance and snow truck operators are still ready for the worst. "We try to live within the budget that we have but if we have an exceptionally bad winter then we may have to do less of something else later in the year." says Eden. She says fewer roads may be patched or less mowing on the side of highways.
This year you may see something new called a tow plow--it's a plow with a blade that swings around and clears 2 and a half lanes at once. It will be used on the section of Highway 65 in Springfield. Another truck will follow behind to warn vehicles of the blade. The trucks will go 25 mph. If traffic is backed up, the blade can be retracted or the trucks will take an exit and let traffic pass.