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Plow Trailer Expected to Cut Snow-Clearing Times

State snowplow drivers are getting a new tool to clear roads faster.

Wed November 12, 2014 - West Edition

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) State snowplow drivers are getting a new tool to clear roads faster.

Plow drivers in Fairbanks are awaiting the next snow dump to debut the state’s new Viking Cives-brand tow plow, a trailer that carries a plow, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

A conventional front-mounted snow plow truck tows the trailer. The trailer carries a snowplow that can rotate to the right. Together, the vehicles can plow two lanes at once, a swath about 24 ft. (7.3 m) wide.

The Fairbanks district took delivery of the $92,000 plow trailer last spring. It took time to hook up the hydraulics, said Dan Schacher, maintenance and operations superintendent.

Ron Davis, the Fairbanks-area equipment operator foreman, said plowing time will be halved at some locations.

A pair of plow trucks had used a full eight-hour shift to plow the Richardson Highway between Fairbanks and Eielson Air Force Base making five round trips. A team with the new trailer should be able to clear the roughly 25 mi. of four-lane highway in half a shift, he said.

The trailer was designed by road maintenance workers. It’s used in 22 states, said DOT spokeswoman Meadow Bailey.

Drivers will find using it different that a plow truck by itself, Schacher said.

“They’re apprehensive, but there are a lot of them also excited to do it. I want to do it,’’ Schacher said.

The department bought other tow plows for Anchorage, Juneau, Soldotna and in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Bailey said.

The department last year incorporated another piece of equipment, the Raiko icebreaker, a spiked drum that attaches to the front of a snowplow to break up thick ice deposits. Fairbanks shared an icebreaker with Anchorage for testing. Fairbanks now has two icebreakers, Schacher said.