WILLOW SPRINGS -- The South Central District of The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) received an average of 40 inches of ice and snow last year, one of the worst in recent memory. MoDOT prepares for winter weather with extensive planning. MoDOT officials said when mild turns to wild this winter, MoDOT will be ready.
The department spent $40 million statewide last year on labor, materials and equipment for snow and ice removal, far above the $30 million average. Oregon County, which is included in the South Central District, was one of the counties where some of the more than 300,000 tons of salt was used. MoDOT officials said this is well over the 210,000 tons of salt used on an average.
In the South Central District, 30,000 tons of salt and 12,000 tons of abrasive mixture material is expected to be used.
Only 1,800 tons of salt was used the winter before in this portion of the state. The average price per ton of salt in 2002 was $32 per ton. According to MoDOT public relations official Eddie Grover Bisker, the district currently has 24,000 tons of salt on hand.
"We have approximately 172 trucks and 20 motor graders waiting at the 34 local maintenance buildings across the 13 counties in our district," says District Engineer Tom Stehn. "We also added some 14-foot plows last year and improved technology on our spreaders to make them more efficient. So when the snow falls, we're ready."
Stehn said once the snow starts to fall, salt is applied to the roads and if it keeps snowing, a salt and abrasive mixture is applied. He said all of the trucks are equipped with spreaders and plows.
The newer material spreaders are computer monitored to calibrate more precise coverage. Stehn said data can be downloaded from the spreader to see how much salt has been used and at what rate. The sensors in the operating system allow the spreader to adjust its salt output according to the truck's speed.