M-DOT Unveils Snow Plow That Takes Up Two Lanes

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

MICHIGAN (WILX)- They won't be using it anytime soon but M-DOT unveiled a new vehicle that will make a huge difference on snow-covered roads.

It's called the Tow-Plow, a massive snow plow that can cover two lanes of road at once. When it deploys look out, you don't want to be caught on the wrong side of this machine.

"When it deploys it looks like a truck jackknifing because it's going to swing out to the side," explained M-DOT Region Maintenance Manager Will Thompson.

When the Tow-Plow deoploys it sticks out a 30 degree angle with no extra warning other than the regular flashing lights on the plow, so drivers keep your distance.

"We definitally want people to be prepared when this thing swings out. Stay back and be careful it's fine," said Thompson.

Driver Gary Shultagis says if you are going to pass it, only pass on the left, never on the side where the plow is.

"Stay back and give us room. With using it on a three lane road you will be able to pass on the left because it only deploys on the right," explained Shultagis.

The tow plow can cover widths up to 25 feet. That means clearing 2 lanes at once saving money and personell.

"It's special in the way we have never been able to plow two lanes with one driver before. Recently we had a 15% cut in employees. The number is down a bit and we need to use tools to make up for it," said Thompson.

This one is the only one for the state of Michigan currently. This winter the Tow-Plow will be used in Livingston county on I-96 and UW-23, but may eventually be used on two lane roads.

"If there is too much snow and we use it on a two lane people will feel better behind it than trying to get around," said Shultagis.

It cost M-DOT $93,000, money managers say that is well spent.

"We predict 30-40 percent savings and a 5 year payback. So we should have it paid off in 5 years."

13 other states are also using Tow-Plows. M-dot says the vehicle is perfectly safe and won't swerve even if it runs over something. That's because of the design, the wheels under it keep it locked in place.

M-DOT has trained four employees to drive the Tow-Plow. Now they're just waiting for the next snowfall to get a chance to use it.

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  • by Amanda Location: Jackson on Jan 24, 2013 at 05:51 PM
    Thats $93,000 in wages that could have been paid out to employees, and how much time is it really going to save? And how many more accidents is it going to cause?? People already get messed up with a plow that takes up one lane. Just saying, maybe michigan shoould just go back to some basics instead of spending thousands of dollars on technology that isnt needed in a place such as a snow plow?? Im sure there are other technologies that would be more useful
  • by Andrew Location: Howell on Jan 20, 2013 at 05:23 AM
    $93,000.00????.Has it even been tested? where and when? With what snow??..Will block 2-Lanes? causing back-ups! and most likley accidents behind it! Again another blunder by M-DOT. and the State of mich.The stupidity still grows in our state government!!!
  • by landscaping toronto Location: http://www.mrlawnmower.ca on Jan 15, 2013 at 05:50 PM
    Nice to be here and see your post ! http://www.mrlawnmower.ca
  • by pat eichholtz Location: cadillac mich on Jan 11, 2013 at 09:26 PM
    thats a joke with the warmer winters and less snow fall like weve been seeing the last 3 years here in michigan.do we realy need that thing ? and i understand tryin 2 save on payroll . but theres allot of folks that would like 2 see some jobs created . not eliminated by a fancy peice of equipment.and i quote.. its january 12 2013 its 45 degreez with a wind chill of about 40??
  • by Mike Location: Jonesville on Jan 11, 2013 at 03:14 PM
    Looks like a huge waste of taxpayer money,seems like the more cost effective way to plow more with less would be to mount wing plows on the side of the trucks like they do in Ohio.They swing out when you need them and retract when you dont,for a whole lot less money.
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