It’s supposed to snow along the Interstate 80 corridor today (Feb. 7). And if that snow arrives as expected, the unexpected will be a new innovative snowplow that California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be unveiling.
Motorist and onlookers will no doubt be doing a double-take when they catch a glimpse of the new “two-plow removing snow from two lanes at once. That’s right, two lanes at once.
The tow-plow is an attached trailer with pivoting wheels and an attached snowplow blade, Caltrans said. Pulled by a vehicle designed for the purpose, the tow-plow can be activated to maneuver to the right of the vehicle, allowing for two lanes to be plowed at once.
This is the first tow-plow ever used in California.
“The tow-plow is ready for use and will be deployed as soon as it is needed during the upcoming storm,” a Caltrans spokesperson said today.
The new equipment will plow 28 feet of roadway at a time, whereas regular plows have a removal width of 10 feet to 12 feet, according to the release.
The new snow plow covers more than twice the width of a single snowplow blade without employing an additional truck.
Caltrans will begin using the new plow on I-80 over Donner Summit, from Kingvale to Truckee.
State Department of Transportation gave a demonstration today of the new $80,000 tow-plow at the Caltrans Kingvale Maintenance Station near the Donner Summit.
“The tow-plow is snow-removal equipment (that has) never seen in California,” according to a Caltrans release from Rochelle Jenkins, a public information officer.
What makes the tow-plow so unique is that while driving, the operator can pull a lever and deploy the extra blade on wheels to a 45-degree angle with the main snowplow.
“From behind, you might not be used to what you’re seeing. It could cause some alarm,” tow-plow driver Scott McClendon told KCRA television station in Sacramento.
Caltrans urges motorists to use caution in this area and to “Slow for the Cone Zone.”