Flynn: The slow process of winter road maintenance and safe travel

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Flynn: The slow process of winter road maintenance and safe travel

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 4:33am -- tim

by Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn At VTrans, we know how much you count on us to keep Vermont’s roadways safe for travel during winter weather and storms. This time of year, you’ll see our fleet of 268 plow trucks out in full force, plowing millions of miles of roads and highways and doing our part to keep you moving.

But for our crews to do their work safely and successfully, we need your help.

We monitor the forecasts around the clock every day, tracking snow, ice, freezing rain, sleet, and storms that could affect your travel.

We measure the air temperatures and roadway surface temperatures.

We deploy our plows early, to get out in front of weather events and treat the roads.

We spread granular salt (also known as sodium chloride) in temperatures of 15 degrees or warmer, and magnesium chloride on those especially frigid days.

Spreading salt efficiently takes time, requiring VTrans trucks to move at 25 mph. But salting the roads prevents snow and ice from bonding to the surface, preventing slippery surfaces that making traveling unsafe.

So, try to be patient, slow down, and give the trucks plenty of room.

When snow, ice, or the infamous “wintry mix” starts to fall, the plows are down to clear the roadways.

Again, effective plowing takes time, at a speed of 35-40 mph on highways and interstates.

A typical plow route takes about two hours to complete, so even if you don’t see a plow truck right now, you’re likely to see one somewhere along your route. Again, please slow down, maintain a steady speed, and give the plow extra space.

Behind the scenes, our team is always researching new products, developing best practices for snow and ice control, and finding better ways to deliver up-to-date information about road conditions.

We communicate with travelers on our website and social media, local television, radio, and more.

Highway message boards alert you to emergent situations and remind you to slow down and stay alert. Our plow finder map also shows you the location of VTrans plows in real time. And, we send the new VTrans Road Conditions Report twice every day to media outlets across the state.

All of these efforts help us provide the best winter highway maintenance possible, because we know you’re busy and have places to go and people to see. If we both do our part, we can help everyone travel safely.

When winter weather hits, please remember to give yourself more time than usual, don’t make dramatic moves, keep a steady speed, use good judgment when passing a plow, and remember that when snow, sleet, or anything else is falling, road conditions will be compromised.

We can’t do the work of winter highway maintenance and safety without you.

List of winter road travel resources:

VTrans website, Winter Weather Central:

Plow Finder:

Highway Webcams:

New England 511:


VTrans on Facebook:

VTrans on Twitter:

Source: VTrans. 1.23.2020