Underbody Scraper Versus Front Mounted Plow

I wanted to post an article Mark Lester had put on his Blog. Great information and a good read. Mark and I worked on many “new” equipment innovations and methods over the years @ Michigan DOT. He had some great insights and improvements to the fleet and shop operations, it was fun and always interesting working with Mark. Never a dull moment. Wouldn’t have missed a minute of it. Let me know your thought’s. you can read Marks Blog @ http://fleetgod- snowice.blogspot.com

“I read an article in Better Roads magazine which dealt with winter maintenance and Clear Roads sponsored plow design projects.  One of the concept plow designs is a front mount snow plow with multiple blades, including;  a flexible cutting edge that adjusts to the contour of the roadway, a scarifying blade that cuts into hardpack and ice, and a  rubber squeegee blade that removes excess liquids and solids that other blades miss.  DOT’s from the states of Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have partnered in this testing and evaluation process.  You can find information on this project and many more at: www.clearroads.org.   What I found intriguing in this article was the feedback from Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio DOT’s concerning the scarifier portion of the multiple blade front plow, these DOT’s were not impressed with the scarifier piece and were more in favor of using underbody scraper blades for cutting into hardpack and ice.  Being a former employee of Michigan Department of Transportation, an organization that uses underbody scrapers exclusively for snow & ice removal, I found this very intriguing.  Especially considering I had just returned from a family reunion in southern Indiana where I had an interesting conversation with a cousin, Josh Asdell, who is employed by Indiana Department of Transportation in Sullivan.  Josh shared with me they had received a plow truck with an underbody scraper and he was anxious to operate it.  He thought it looked a whole lot more appealing than hauling around a front snow plow.  I would be inclined to agree.  Prior to leaving MDOT, we researched pro’s and con’s of retaining our underbody scrapers or eliminating them in favor of exclusive use of front mount snow plows.  There are pro’s and con’s for each, but after careful consideration, we concluded that we had the best set-up.  MDOT snowplow operator’s rarely use a front plow for removing snow from the trunkline.  Plows are used for pushing back snow banks and even that is becoming more infrequent since the implementation of mid-mount wing plows.  Another point I would offer, implementation of an effective anti-ice program will greatly reduce hard pack and will hasten the post storm clean-ups. The plow evaluation report can be viewed at:  www.clearroads.org/multiple-blade-plow-prototypes.html. “

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About Dave Budd

Vice President of Product Development and Marketing, Great Lakes Chloride, Inc. Serving Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. Retired Michigan DOT, October 2010 after 32 years experience in Maintenance/Operations. Specializing in winter operations and liquid de-icers and anti-icers.
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