MODOT Conducts Winter Drill; Snow Plows and Drivers Practice Rou - KOAM TV 7

MODOT Conducts Winter Drill; Snow Plows and Drivers Practice Routes

   It's not yet winter  but the Missouri Department of Transportation wants to be ready for the first big snow storm.  So today the MODOT conducted a statewide winter drill.

Ten year MODOT  veteran driver Brenda Beerly says she's glad to do the drill. "This year we have  a lot of new people that are starting to work at MODOT. Some of them just  push snow, so it gives them a chance to get familiar with their route and see all the obstacles  they have to push around."

Like islands and curbs.  Beerly says those can disappear under a heavy snow so she watches for signage."If you get a heavy snow and a person's not familiar with that route you can hit an island with a plow  and it will  bring you to a stop quick."

And new drivers means Brenda herself,  has a new route to practice.

She'll be plowing all the ramps and the interchange around  Highway 249.

Beerly says, “On my route you've got  Interstate 44 underneath the   bridges so you don't want to shove snow off the side of the bridge onto the traffic below ."

 It's a  season when big snows are predicted. So there were fake conference calls at theMOthe MODOTce and alerts on a mock website.

MODOT Assistant District Maintenance Engineer Bob Becker says "We have a typical format we go through:  what equipment's  down, do you need salt, need help, need  anything,  in particular." 

Officials say it's more than weather predictions that determine how much salt and cinders they order.

Becker says, "It's a tough game. We take a ten year average of our salt usage. That   is how we do it and we order our salt. We did bulk up a little this year.  We had quite a winter last year and  used a lot of material and it cut pretty close toward the end."

The district now has twenty-eight  thousand tons of salt.  And after the drill, drivers are ready to put it down and push snow out of the way.

Beerly and Becker hope the drill is also an alert to other drivers that  the plows will be here soon and  need space. Beerly says drivers  often follow too closely to a  plow or try to pass her in a rush.

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