MnDOT Tests New Snowplow Tool in Maple Grove
MnDOT officials are testing a new tool at its Maple Grove facility aimed at keeping snowplow drivers and other motorists safe. Plow drivers with MnDOT maintain more than 4,000 miles in the metro. Clearing snowy and icy roads can be a challenge.
It’s why this year, the Maple Grove truck station is trying out a new device to make their job safer. The gadget looks like a Star Wars lightsaber. It’s the newest weapon to make plow trucks more visible. Engineer Nate Smith designed the device.
“They were really successful last year,” said Smith.
Smith took old materials that were lying around the shop to upgrade plow markers. He then used LED strip lights to make the markers shine bright. Currently, crews are installing the device on plows and snow blowers.
“We probably have about 20 built right now,” said Smith.
The lighted markers are a useful guide for snowplow drivers, giving them a clear line of sight, so they won’t accidently rear-end snow blowers when crews are working on decks and bridges.
Eight Snow Plow Incidents Last Year
Last year, there were eight incidents in the metro where a vehicle slammed into a plow wing.
“The wing is that piece of equipment that hangs off the side of the truck,” explained Smith. “You don’t always see it, especially when it’s light fluffy snow.”
If the lighted markers can stand up to our rough Minnesota winters, MnDOT officials might install them on every plow in the state.