ADOTs new snow plow trucks cost $280,000 each and weigh 65,000 lbs. when fully loaded with equipment and deicing materials.
(Arizona Department of Transportation photo)
The Arizona Department of Transportation is adding 25 new "high-tech" snow plow trucks to its fleet of 200 units; trucks equipped with lighter, more flexible 12-ft. plow blades that can be adjusted from inside the cab. The agency added that those new trucks are being used almost exclusively on wider interstate highways, including I-17 and I-40 in the Flagstaff area.
The Arizona DOT noted in a statement on Dec. 20 that the new snow plow trucks cost $280,000 each and weigh 65,000 lbs. when fully loaded with equipment and deicing materials. However, the new trucks aren't winter season-only vehicles, the agency stressed, as when their snow plow-related equipment is removed, the vehicles serve as dump trucks for highway maintenance work.
What makes these snow plow trucks "high-tech" revolves around several design features:
- Inside the cab, joysticks allow the driver to more precisely control the blade's movements;
- a computerized monitor screen provides weather data and pavement temperatures as well as information about deicing agents that are distributed from the plow's dump truck bed;
- a separate screen displays images from rear- and side-mounted cameras; and
- a laser light system helps guide drivers as they operate a separate blade called a "wing plow," which can extend from right side of the vehicle and increase the amount of snow cleared. The laser's beam, which shines ahead to match where the outside edge of the wing plow will travel, lets drivers know if they need to merge away from objects such as guardrails.
The Arizona DOT also noted that the "bit" or bottom-edge section of the flexible snowplow blades on its 25 new trucks includes a shock-absorbing rubber insulator that improves contact with the highway's surface.
That helps the plow blade act much more like a squeegee along the pavement, the agency said; increasing the removal of snow and ice from lower, worn spots on the roadway created by heavy traffic volumes.