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Iowa DOT Already Preparing for Winter

By Ellis Codjoe, October 19, 2017

It’s been sunny and relatively warm with temperatures in the 60s and 70s this week, but Iowa Department of Transportation employees are busy preparing for winter. Craig Bargfrede is the DOT’s winter operations administrator.

“In our world, October 15th is actually the official start of the winter season and that runs through April 15th,” Bargfrede says.

The agency’s 900 plows and other snow-moving equipment are being brought out of storage for tuneups and maintenance.

“Making sure everything is functioning properly on the trucks, plows, blowers – we’re in the process of doing calibration on all of our spreaders to make sure the material is being dispensed properly and accurately across the board,” Bargfrede says.

Over the summer, the Iowa DOT stocked storage facilities with nearly 230-thousand tons of salt to use on roads this winter.

“Our annual usage has been somewhere around 140-to-150-thousand tons,” Bargfrede says. “So, if we would have a normal winter season, we have enough salt today to cover our requirement.”

In the coming weeks, even when it’s sunny and dry, Iowans may see DOT trucks spraying brine on roads and bridges. Bargfrede says it’s a “proactive approach.” Spraying brine on areas prone to frost prevents the formation of an icy layer, which typically occurs on cold, clear nights.

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