MoDOT prepares for winter with statewide drill - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

MoDOT prepares for winter with statewide drill

MISSOURI (KFVS) -

The Missouri Department of Transportation says they want to be ready when the winter weather is here.

To prepare, MoDOT will test its readiness with a statewide drill on Nov. 5.

The drill tests MoDOT's winter battle plan to ensure its readiness to get drivers back on the road as quickly as possible after winter storms.

"Over 3,500 MoDOT employees are involved in our winter operations, including every maintenance crew across the state," said State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright. "The annual drill helps to make sure we all know our roles during a storm, and we can do our jobs successfully."

During the drill, MoDOT employees will react to a simulated forecast of significant snow for the entire state. The department's emergency operations centers will activate and maintenance employees will be deployed to their trucks.

"One of the most valuable parts of the drill is to measure our snowplow circuits by driving routes we may have modified since the previous winter season. As we open new roads and lanes we must modify our snow removal plans." said Wright. "It also allows our newest snow fighters one last opportunity to drive a snowplow over some of their proposed routes so they are aware of obstacles and obstructions that might be hidden in a storm by snow or ice such as curbs and raised islands."

Drivers may notice more MoDOT vehicles on state routes during the drill. In rural areas, crews will deploy after 8 a.m. In urban areas, the drill will not begin until after 9 a.m.

Wright estimates that the exercise will take about six hours.

The drill isn't the only element to MoDOT's winter weather operations. All maintenance employees complete an annual winter skills training that serves as a refresher course for plowing snow.

The training assures that proper equipment operation, plowing techniques and safety measures are fresh on employees' minds as winter approaches. Every piece of equipment, including trucks; motorgraders; snow blowers and tractors will be inspected to ensure proper operation.

"Our ultimate goal is to handle the first snowfall like we've been plowing snow all year," said Wright. "Careful planning and preparation mean our crews can mobilize when needed and our equipment will be ready."

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