Highway Crews Gearing Up for Winter Weather

There isn’t a ton of snow hitting the ground so far this
winter, but the heavy snowfalls are inevitable here in Wisconsin. The snow and frozen roads often
make driving a bit of a hassle for a few months, but Fond du Lac County Highway Commissioner
Tom Jahnke says snow plow drivers will be out there before, during, and after
the snow hits. 

Jahnke tells us “generally as we’re looking at
forecasts and trying to understand what weather may be coming in, we may see
some anti-icing before the storm event – post-storm event – anti-icing to put a
liquid salt brine to help eliminate that tight bond between any ice that could
form on the road once the event starts.”

The plow trucks are
equipped to spread salt to help with icy conditions. But the salt only works until a certain point – when frigid temperatures begin to set in. 

Jahnke says “salt is only good up to, I
think, fifteen degrees – so if it’s colder than that, we do have other
chemicals we do look at using. But even that, you’ve got to try to pick the
right one and not all trucks are equipped to have those on them as well.”

Jahnke adds that it’s important for drivers to pay attention to where they are in regards to a snow plow – and to think about what the drivers are dealing with at the time. 

He tell us that “our operators are sometimes plowing 12 hours a day or
longer. They’re large trucks, some of these trucks have multiple wings on them,
plows, multiple salting and salt brine applications that they’re doing on the
road. So as they’re looking around and trying to do their job, and generally if
you can’t see they’re mirrors, they can’t see you.”

Jahnke says drivers should navigate safely, whether they are around plows or not – because winter weather can cause issues, even on roads that have been taken care of. 

He points out that “just because you see a plow out
doesn’t mean that the roads are completely, 100-percent clear. There’s always a
chance of some ice and slush and snow and that type of stuff still remains on
the roadway. So just don’t get comfortable to the fact of ‘well a plow came
through and I can travel at normal speeds’ – the speed limit on the highway is
in good, safe driving conditions, not in winter weather.”