County Unveils New Snow Removal Equipment, Increases Plowing Staff Given Winter Forecast
November 07, 2011
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858
Dane County’s Highway Department is ready for winter with increased numbers of snow plow drivers, continued upgrades in snow removal efficiency, and new equipment to help keep county roads clear when the snow starts to fly, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Monday.
The National Weather Service has predicted that South Central Wisconsin will experience above average snowfall this winter. The announcement, held at a Dane County highway garage, outlined steps the county is taking to prepare for these potential winter weather events.
“Just eight months ago the dedicated men and women of the county’s highway department helped us endure the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011,” said Parisi. “I’m proud to announce that the highway department is prepared for this year’s winter weather as well, with new equipment and increased staff drivers thanks to partnerships with our employees.”
Eleven new snow plow drivers will be available this winter through proposals in Parisi’s 2012 budget. Seven drivers will be available as part of a new partnership with the county’s Parks Department in which employees have volunteered to plow snow when needed. Many of the parks employees are former employees of the highway department, and all are trained to plow snow. The County Executive also restores four additional drivers in the highway department in his budget that had been slated for reduction due to state budget cuts.
In addition more plow drivers, the county Highway Department will continue to upgrade its equipment to help clear snow quickly and efficiently. This year the department will outfit more of its trucks with what is known as “double-wing” plow blades. These extra wings will allow trucks to clear snow on multi-lane highways such as a the beltline and the interstate more efficiently. The double-wing also helps plows clear highway on and off ramps in one pass.
The new double-wing will be installed on existing trucks, and will be a feature on some of the eight new trucks that are joining the department’s fleet this winter.
The double-wing, in addition technologies such as Global Information Systems (GIS) installed on every Dane County Highway Department vehicle, and use of a resilient salt-brine solution for anti-icing and de-icing, will help the county’s efforts to keep major highways open and as safe as possible during winter weather events.
Dane County Public Works, Highways, and Transportation Director Jerry Mandli showcased the new equipment on Monday, and urged drivers to use caution when sharing the road with plows. “You may see a snow plow driver, but depending on conditions that driver may not see you. Slowing down when approaching a plow, using your headlights, and giving that plow driver plenty of room to maneuver can keep everyone safe.”
Pending final approval by the Dane County Board, the County Executive’s proposals would provide a total of 111 drivers and 58 snow plows to clear over 2,500 miles of state and county highways across Dane County this winter. Parisi’s budget proposes an annual operating budget of over $20 million for the county highway department in 2012.
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