Win­ter is com­ing...and MDOT SHA is ready

New “STORM” web app en­hances cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence

The Avenue News - - NEWS -

The Mary­land De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion (MDOT SHA) held its an­nual “Snow Show” event to­day at the Statewide Op­er­a­tions Cen­ter in Anne Arun­del County. MDOT SHA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Greg Slater un­veiled its new­est tool for cit­i­zens to plan for safe win­ter travel – STORM (Statewide Trans­porta­tion Op­er­a­tions Re­sponse Map), a mo­bile-friendly web ap­pli­ca­tion link!

STORM en­ables cit­i­zens to track MDOT SHA and con­trac­tor’s pre-treat­ing brine trucks in ad­vance of a storm and plow trucks dur­ing a storm in re­al­time. Cit­i­zens can en­ter their ad­dress to see the trucks op­er­at­ing in their area. Equip­ment is vis­i­ble only when mov­ing at 10 mph or greater, which will elim­i­nate screen clut­ter, es­pe­cially near main­te­nance shops where trucks are mov­ing at slower speeds.

“The STORM App is an in­no­va­tive way to en­hance the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence,” said MDOT SHA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gre­gory Slater. “An av­er­age snow route takes a plow driver ap­prox­i­mately 90 min­utes to com­plete. The new app will show where they are and where they have most re­cently trav­eled.”

Mea­sur­able snow­fall has al­ready fallen in Western Mary­land and tem­per­a­tures are rapidly fall­ing in the rest of the State, so win­ter weather is on the hori­zon. MDOT SHA is fully stocked with ma­te­rial and equip­ment is ready to keep Mary­land’s roads and bridges safe and pass­able this win­ter. While road salt is a proven and ef­fi­cient way to treat roads dur­ing win­ter storms, MDOT SHA is mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant strides to re­duce its over­all salt us­age. Anti-ic­ing (Pre-treat­ing): MDOT SHA pre-treats Statemain­tained roads with salt brine in ad­vance of win­ter storms that are fore­casted to start as snow on the on­set. If it’s rain or freez- ing rain, the ma­te­rial will sim­ply be washed off the road, wast­ing la­bor, ma­te­ri­als and time. The tem­per­a­ture must be 20 de­grees higher to ap­ply salt brine. Salt brine in roughly 23 per­cent salt and 77 per­cent wa­ter.

Crews spray brine on roads in the days pre­ced­ing a storm, al­low­ing it to dry, leav­ing fa­mil­iar streaks on the road. The film on the road helps to pre­vent the ini­tial bond­ing of snow and ice from form­ing.

Pre-wet­ting gran­u­lar salt: An­other proven salt re­duc­tion tech­nique is pre-wet­ting salt be­fore dis­pens­ing it onto the roads. MDOT SHA wets the salt with salt brine at the distri­bu­tion spin­ner di­rectly be­fore its ap­plied to travel lanes. This helps it ad­here to road sur­faces and pre­vent waste due to “bounce and scat­ter.” Ex­pe­ri­ence and stud­ies show that pre-wet­ting can lead to a 30 per­cent re­duc­tion in salt us­age.

Liq­uid-only routes:

MDOT SHA has des­ig­nated many routes in the State as “liq­uid only” snow routes. This sim­ply means that, in nor­mal, non-bl­iz­zard storms, MDOT SHA crews will use salt brine only dur­ing the ac­tual treat­ment of these roads dur­ing a snow storm.

Dur­ing the storm

MDOT SHA’s ad­vice is to TAKE IT SLOW ON ICE AND SNOW. Re­mem­ber: don’t pass snow plows or plow trains. The un­plowed roads are ahead of the plows and the treated roads are be­hind them.

MDOT SHA asks mo­torists to clear snow com­pletely off ve­hi­cles be­fore driv­ing. A clean ve­hi­cle pro­vides in­creased vis­i­bil­ity, and packed snow on car tops can be­come dan­ger­ous pro­jec­tiles in the days af­ter a storm.

When the weather ser­vice fore­casts storms with six or more inches of snow, MDOT SHA des­ig­nates cer­tain park and ride lots where com­mer­cial truck driv­ers can pull off and wait out the storm. These lots serve as safe havens for truck­ers. For a com­plete list­ing of emer­gency truck park­ing lo­ca­tions, click here.

MDOT SHA de­ploys heavy-duty tow trucks to strate­gic lo­ca­tions where there is a his­tory of trucks be­com­ing dis­abled. These large wreck­ers help ex­pe­dite the re­moval of the trac­tor trailer and en­able crews to keep lanes open for con­tin­ued snow op­er­a­tions. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion

MDOT SHA main­tains the State’s num­bered, non-tolled roads in the 23 coun­ties. To see what agency is re­spon­si­ble for what road, click on “Know Your Roads.”

MDOT SHA crews work hard to keep roads pass­able dur­ing snow storms to main­tain ac­cess to crit­i­cal ser­vices, such as hos­pi­tals. Mo­torists are en­cour­aged to log onto www.md511.org for cur­rent travel in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing cur­rent snow emer­gency plans. Fi­nally, fol­low SHA on so­cial me­dia via Twit­ter @MDSHA and on Face­book at http://www. Face­book.com/Mar ylandS­tateHigh­wayAd­min­is­tra­tion. The so­cial me­dia plat­forms are staffed busi­ness hours Mon­day through Fri­day and dur­ing ma­jor emer­gen­cies and storms.

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