Recent winter storm kept snowplow operators very busy

Just a couple days before the official start of spring, our state experienced a severe winter storm that left up to 36 inches of snow in some spots.

Needless to say, that much snow meant ADOT’s snowplow drivers were kept very busy through the weekend.

How busy? To answer that, we rounded up stats from some of our maintenance districts. The crews working in these teams are among the nearly 400 ADOT employees trained to drive a snowplow.

When the weather gets like it did the weekend of March 17, snowplow operators will typically work 12-hour shifts to make sure the freeways are clear…

ADOT’s Flagstaff district had 41 snowplows deployed during the storm March 18-19. This added up to 1,968 labor hours to clear the snow on approximately 3,000 lane miles of highway.

* Lane miles = distance traveled x number of lanes cleared. For example, a snowplow might clear a roadway that measures 25 miles, but if there are four lanes to clear on that span, the lane miles traveled equals 100. All the numbers in this blog post are referring to lane miles.

The storm hit Payson at around midnight on March 19 and the snow quickly forced the closure of many local roads and I-40. ADOT crews in the area worked around the clock putting in a total of 291 hours during this storm. They either plowed or treated 5,287 miles of roadway. The crew member providing this info points out that the total circumference of Earth is 24,901 miles and that it’s not unusual for the Payson crew to plow enough miles to circle the planet TWICE in one winter!!

Cordes Junction (and surrounding areas) got some snow, too … 3,606 miles of roads were treated or plowed in the area.

Crews out in Safford had seven plows in operation working in the higher elevations on US 191, SR 266 and SR 366.

In Kingman, 13 plows were used on I-40, SR 66 and US 93. The district also utilized two de-icer trucks to help cut through the icy conditions.

Over in Globe and the surrounding areas of Roosevelt, Show Low, Springerville and St. Johns, 26 snowplows were utilized along 15,354 miles.

The northeastern portion of our state also saw quite a bit of snow…

ADOT’s Holbrook maintenance org used six plows on 1,026 miles of roadway. The Winslow group utilized six plows on 3,599 miles of roads. Surrounding areas (including Kayenta, Keams Canyon, Ganado and Chambers) utilized a total of 21 snowplows along 6,790 miles of road.

We’d like to send a big thank-you to all the crews who worked through this storm. Their efforts helped keep the roads open and safe!