- Associated Press - Sunday, December 11, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s snow plows will be using more technology to help stay on top of storms this winter, and some plows now have a second blade.

The state will be able to monitor how much salt and brine is being spread and track all 697 of its plows as they move, The Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/2heDCDZ ). About 200 trucks have the technology now, and the rest should be upgrade by next winter.

Tom Renninger with the Roads Department said the goal is to make better use of the state’s resources. Last winter, Nebraska spent over $6 million on salt and almost $5 million on other anti-ice products.

Renninger said the upgrades will make sure officials are “actually going to know how much material we’re applying.”

Another 26 state plows will be pulling a second plow blade behind the vehicle that will allow them to clear two lanes at once.

The new towed plow blades will likely catch the eye of other drivers, said Roger Kalkwarf, who oversees plowing of state highways in southeast Nebraska.

“You’re not daydreaming,” said Kalkwarf. “It’s something real.”

The towed plow blades each cost about $105,000. They’ll be especially useful on Interstate 80 and other highways with multiple lanes in each direction.

“It’s a fantastic move as far as for the traveling public because we’re wiping out two lanes instead of one,” he said. “That makes a heck of a difference.”

The state has also installed remote-control gates for closing on ramps at eight places along Interstate 80 in Lincoln and North Platte if storms are bad enough to require closing the highway. The remote control will allow plow operators to continue clearing roads instead of having to manually close gates.

About 70 more I-80 gates between the Wyoming border and Omaha will be upgraded over the next two years at a cost of roughly $8 million.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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