ADOT prepared to keep highways open, safe during snow season

Agency plans, trains and maintains throughout the year for winter weather

PHOENIX – With winter and the promise of snow in the high country rapidly approaching, preparation throughout the year means the Arizona Department of Transportation is ready to keep highways open and travelers safe.

Through its certification and training programs, ADOT has 400 certified snowplow operators ready for winter storms.

Regular maintenance by ADOT Equipment Services has the agency’s 200 snowplows ready to go. Last winter, ADOT spent $2.2 million, an average of $11,000 per vehicle, to keep its snowplows in top condition.

“It’s always difficult to predict not only how severe winter weather will be but where problems will occur,” said Dallas Hammit, ADOT’s state engineer and deputy director for transportation. “With our operators trained and our snowplow fleet up and running, however, ADOT has the resources necessary to respond to snow and ice around the state.”

TowPlow on Arizona highwayADOT’s snowplows working on Interstate 40 between Williams and Flagstaff will include a second TowPlow, a steerable trailer that allows one driver in a snowplow to clear two lanes. Attached to the back of a snowplow and steered by the snowplow driver, the TowPlow allows ADOT remove snow and ice more efficiently while using less fuel, and it frees another snowplow and driver to work elsewhere.

As with any snowplow, drivers approaching a TowPlow should slow down and pass only when the operator pulls over to allow traffic to get around. Remember: The road behind a plow is the safest place to be when snow and ice are on the highway.

While ADOT is ready to keep the roads open and as safe as possible in challenging conditions, motorists can do their part by preparing for travel in winter weather.

ADOT’s “Know Snow” website at azdot.gov/KnowSnow has tips that include adjusting your speed to conditions, leaving extra room between your vehicle and the one ahead, carrying plenty of food and water, and packing an emergency preparedness kit. Tips include carrying a small bag of cat litter or sand to provide traction if your vehicle becomes stuck along the roadway.

Before heading out in any conditions, drivers can call 511 or visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Center at az511.gov for the latest highway conditions around the state. The website features real-time images along state highways that give drivers a glimpse of weather conditions in various regions.