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Ask A Plow Truck Driver

February 09, 2022 03:30 PM
By: PEMA

Image of a plow truck in the snow

We talked with PennDOT to find out about their plow operations.

Plow Operation Stats in PA

Pennsylvania maintains 40,000 miles of roads and 25,40 bridges. That means there are approximately 95,600 snow lane miles. If you are having trouble imagining that in your head, how about enough snow lane miles to circle the world nearly four times?

On average, PennDOT uses 807,766 tons of salt to keep Pennsylvania drivers moving. If you need another visual, that is two Empire State Buildings.

To tackle the winter in PA, PennDOT uses 2,350 trucks, plows, and salt spreaders, operated by about 4,700 on-the-road workers. The department also rents about 380 trucks and hires temporary operators to assist with snow removal operations. Learn more about the science behind tackling our roadways during winter weather here.

With all these facts, there are still questions. So, we asked a plow truck driver two of the most common questions about winter operations in PA.

Why won’t the roads be clear of ice and snow right away?

During a storm, we will plow and salt major highways first before moving to the less-traveled rural roads. During severe winter storms, equipment is often redirected from assigned rural routes to assist with plowing heavily traveled roads first. Also, remember plows use the same roads we all travel on. As traffic or precipitation increases, so does the time it takes for a plow to complete its route. If you are stuck in traffic, so are we. This means that if storms hit at rush hour, you should plan extra time for your commute.

Where is my plow?

PennDOT’s plow trucks are equipped with Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) systems, which use in-truck technology to log and share data in real-time for that truck. The routes of these interstate and expressway trucks can be viewed in real-time at 511PA. The AVL unit in each truck sends a cellular signal through the system showing where a truck is located and whether or how much material is being spread from the truck.

By clicking the block “PennDOT plow trucks” in the legend on 511PA, you will see where your plow truck is.

More on Winter Safety

Learn more about Winter Weather Safety Tips We Love in the February 2022 Ready PA Newsletter.


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