Tow Plow Clears Snow, And How
Ever see a dog trotting down a sidewalk with its hind legs to the right or left of its front legs?
Ever see a movie in which a semi hauls down the road with its trailer jackknifed coming at you?
Then you've got an idea of the next big thing in snow plowing.
The tow plows will clear more roads faster and enable WYDOT to use more efficiently its resources when when the white stuff blows and the highways might close, WYDOT spokesman Jeff Goetz said.
"It's another tool in our arsenal of snow-fighting equipment," Goetz said.
Tuesday, WYDOT demonstrated the new $300,000 rig pulled behind a custom-designed 465-horsepower Mack plow truck at the District 2 headquarters at 900 Bryan Stock Trail in Casper.
As the driver of 465-horsepower Mack truck cruised through the headquarters back lot, he worked the hydraulic controls to drop the 24-foot blade and steer the wheels at the end of the tow plow to swing it to the right.
It does look strange, and WYDOT wants motorists to understand what is happening, Goetz said.
In certain applications, the combination of the plow truck and the tow plow can clear two travel lanes with one pass, compared to conventional plows need to make two or three passes to clear the same number of lanes, he said.
Fewer plow trucks needed for the same work means WYDOT can assign them for use elsewhere, clearing more snow on more roads, Goetz said. "It will save us time. It will allow us to be a lot more efficient when we're out plowing roads."
The truck and plow are equipped with bins and spreaders for sand, and brine tanks to coat the sand with salt so it sticks to icy road surfaces.
The tow plow is the brainchild of Robert Lannert, a 34-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Transportation. "I'm the one who started all this," he said during the demonstration.
A self-described farm boy turned civil engineer turned union ironworker, Lannert said he recalled farm equipment with four to six discs. But as the demand grew for more efficient equipment, farmers found ways to have equipment with far more discs that could be folded sideways to enable trucks to haul it on narrow country roads, drive through gates, and then spread it wide for the next job, he said.
District 2, which covers much of east-central Wyoming is the first and only one in the state to have the tow plows, Goetz said. "We're kind of the test monkeys."