Four new Tow Plows, seen at left, allow one vehicle and driver to plow multiple lanes of Interstate highway, saving on crew and fuel costs.
Five new loaders purchased for the upcoming season will decrease the need for outside vendor loaders at highway depots.
MassDOT is increasing outside crew use of so-called Wing Plows, left below, which also plow and remove more snow from a wider portion of roadway, reducing the total pieces of equipment needed for snow and ice activities.
MassDOT has also added significantly to the number of crews using closed loop controllers, a computerized system that automatically adjusts the amount of salt or other materials applied to the roadway based on the speed of the truck and other factors. The result is a savings of up to 40% in the use of materials.
Overall, MassDOT estimates a reduction of 200 in the number of hired pieces of equipment needed. More than 4,000 pieces of MassDOT and hired equipment will be available for safe and efficient clearing of roads. MassDOT is coordinating closely on snow and ice operations with MBTA, MBCR commuter rail, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
In the Winter of 2010-2011, MassDOT efficiency and savings initiatives reduced the overall cost per inch of snowfall from $1.9 million to $1.3 million. MassDOT reconfigured snow and ice routes, added MassDOT employees while reducing the number of hired vendors, and used new procedures and incentives to reduce road salt usage while negotiating a new salt contract that reduced the price of salt from $71 per ton to $50/ton.