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.