Maryland State Highway officials are getting ready for the snowy winter weather. "We've been, for several months now, reprepairing our equipment, making sure its ready and operable, making sure our salt storage is prepared, and ramping up and re-training our crews to make sure they are prepared to encounter any storms that may occur in the area," said Melinda Peters, SHA Administrator. "Typically in the Baltimore and Washington region, snow usually falls in November and December, but in western Maryland crews have to be ready as early as September & October," continued Peters.
Monday, officials hosted their annual Snow Show and Road-eos.
One of the toughest jobs in Maryland belongs to SHA highway crews when battling Old Man Winter. To underscore the talents of SHA’s frontline forces, Peters challenged media partners to a duel of driving prowess in 10-ton dump trucks with 10-foot wide plows.
"Having the best equipment is only part of job. Having dedicated SHA personnel to operate state-of-the-art equipment is essential," said Peters. "The men and women of SHA will go that extra mile to ensure roads are safe and passable following winter weather." SHA highlighted the latest technology and equipment that will clear roads this winter season. Along with the tow plow, which made its debut at last year’s press conferences, the dual-wing plow, inspired by one of SHA’s maintenance workers in Frederick were on static display. Tim Reed, a maintenance worker from SHA’s Easton Shop, gave tips for driving on the road with large plows, reminding drivers that the safest place to be is behind the plow. Before the Storm SHA may pre-treat interstates in advance of a storm using salt brine and in some cases a salt brine/sugar beet molasses mixture. Pre-treating helps prevent ice and snow from sticking or bonding to the pavement at the onset of a storm. This allows SHA crews to be "ahead of the game" and reduces overall salt usage. Pre-treating will not take place if a storm is forecast to begin as rain because the brine solution will wash off and be ineffective. SHA currently has 14 salt brine facilities throughout Maryland. Salt barns are filled at 94 SHA locations in the State with 360,000 tons of salt and nearly 900,000 gallons of salt brine to treat the nearly 18,000 lane miles under SHA’s maintenance. SHA is continuing to pre-deploy heavy-duty tow trucks to assist tractor trailers should they become disabled during a storm. SHA can deploy up to 17 heavy-duty trucks at strategic locations along interstates. Communication SHA works hard to keep roads passable during snow storms so that access to critical services, such as hospitals, can be maintained. However, quite often, the best advice SHA’s drivers can offer is to wait before setting out to drive and "Know Before You Go - especially in ice and snow." Maryland now has free 511 traveler information.