MoDOT winter weather drill tests crews’ readiness, safety

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ST. LOUIS - A few flakes are in the forecast but before the big snow flies, roads crews need to be ready. The Missouri Department of Transportation has already been stocking salt and chemicals and preparing equipment. On Wednesday, they put their crews to the test.

MoDOT’S St. Louis District is in the midst of a winter operations drill that runs through Thursday. The exercise tests their plans to get travelers back on area roads as quickly as possible after snow and ice.

The emergency operations center has been activated and drivers are deployed to their trucks, where they will drive assigned snow routes. The drill serves as a training reminder to make sure proper equipment, plowing techniques, and safety measures are used. It also allows MoDOT drivers to become familiar with obstacles, such as curbs and raised islands, that might end up hidden in snow or ice.

“My biggest concern for any of these events is safety, keeping our people safe and keeping the public safe,” said Bob Becker, MoDOT St. Louis District Maintenance Engineer. “So, if you see us out there, give us plenty of room as you always would. It’s a big 12 to 14-foot plow on the front. Some of these folks are just getting used to that for the first time. So, give them plenty of room. We’re going to take our time to get around so we’re ready to go for the winter.

Drivers will again see increased numbers of MoDOT vehicles on area roads on Thursday, and not just in St. Louis. The exercise spreads statewide.  In rural areas, crews will deploy after 8 a.m. In urban areas, the drill will not begin until after 9 a.m.

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