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NEWS RELEASE



SHA PROVIDES STRATEGIES FOR KEEPING ROAD TRAVEL SAFE DURING WINTER WEATHER

“Snow Show” Featured Snow Plow Driving Competition

(November 19, 2012) - One of the toughest jobs in Maryland belongs to SHA highway crews when battling Old Man Winter. To underscore the talents of SHA’s frontline forces, State Highway Administrator Melinda B. Peters challenged media partners to a duel of driving prowess in 10-ton dump trucks with 10-foot wide plows attached.
 
The competition is part of SHA’s annual “snow show” press conferences in Montgomery County and at SHA’s Statewide Operations Center in Hanover.  SHA’s snow fleet was put on display, as well as demonstrations on how the tow plow and new dual-wing plow operate.

“Having the best equipment is only part of job.  Having dedicated SHA personnel to operate state-of-the-art equipment is essential,” said Melinda B. Peters, SHA Administrator. “The men and women of SHA will go that extra mile to ensure roads are safe and passable following winter weather.”

SHA highlighted the latest technology and equipment that will clear roads this winter season.  Along with the tow plow, which made its debut at last year’s press conferences, the dual-wing plow, inspired by one of SHA’s maintenance workers in Frederick were on static display.  Tim Reed, a maintenance worker from SHA’s Easton Shop, gave tips for driving on the road with large plows, reminding drivers that the safest place to be is behind the plow.

Before the Storm

SHA may pre-treat interstates in advance of a storm using salt brine and in some cases a salt brine/sugar beet molasses mixture.  Pre-treating helps prevent ice and snow from sticking or bonding to the pavement at the onset of a storm.  This allows SHA crews to be “ahead of the game” and reduces overall salt usage.

Pre-treating will not take place if a storm is forecast to begin as rain because the brine solution will wash off and be ineffective. SHA currently has 14 salt brine facilities throughout Maryland.  Salt barns are filled at 94 SHA locations in the State with 360,000 tons of salt and nearly 900,000 gallons of salt brine to treat the nearly 18,000 lane miles under SHA’s maintenance.  

SHA is continuing to pre-deploy heavy-duty tow trucks to assist tractor trailers should they become disabled during a storm.  SHA can deploy up to 17 heavy-duty trucks at strategic locations along interstates.

Communication

SHA works hard to keep roads passable during snow storms so that access to critical services, such as hospitals, can be maintained.  However, quite often, the best advice SHA’s drivers can offer is to wait before setting out to drive and “Know Before You Go – especially in ice and snow.”  Maryland now has free 511 traveler information.  Call 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or visit: www.md511.org  for current travel information. Sign up to personalize travel route information through MY511 on the website.  Remember to use 511 safely - Maryland law restricts hand-held mobile phone use and texting while driving.

Additionally, travelers can plan ahead before hitting the pavement by logging onto the cyber highway at www.roads.maryland.gov and clicking on “CHART” (Coordinated Highway Action Response Team).  The CHART website offers a treasure trove of travel information, snow emergency plans, real-time traffic camera views, weather information and average travel speed maps. 

Outreach to the trucking industry is essential in reducing weather-related congestion.  Despite the skills of professional drivers, icy and slick roads can make heavy trucks vulnerable as well and one jackknifed tractor trailer can cause significant delays and prevent SHA from treating roadways during the height of a storm.  SHA is expanding communications with trucking firms, trade publications and radio stations and satellite radio providers to reach out to the trucking community.  With real-time knowledge of road conditions, route planners and truckers can use alternate routes and avoid becoming disabled.

SHA is once again offering truckers safe haven with emergency parking during winter storms that present particular challenges for drivers of big trucks. SHA created a mobile phone application and an icon that can be downloaded which is available on SHA’s website www.roads.maryland.gov. The icon is located on the right side of the home page.

The easiest way to report any issues along SHA-maintained highways is through the Customer Care Management System (CCMS).  By logging onto www.roads.maryland.gov, citizens can go to the “Contact Us” tab and click on “Submit a Service Request.”  The online submission form is easy to fill out and will be directed to the proper department within SHA to address the issue. 

SHA is making it easy to get safety tips and information on the go through Twitter @MDSHA and on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/MarylandStateHighwayAdministration.

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Maryland Department of Transportation

 

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