The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Marquette County Road Commission in the Upper Peninsula have expanded their use of wing plows to plow more efficiently.
Wing plows are typically deployed on the right side of a standard plow truck, extending the plow's reach and allowing a driver to clear about 14 feet in one pass instead of 9-10 feet. Using the wing plow, crews can clear both the travel lane and shoulder in one pass, reducing the number of passes needed to clear the road during and after a winter snow event. This improves service while cutting labor, equipment, and fuel costs, according to the agency.
MDOT's Upper Peninsula plowing fleet has begun using wing plows to clear active lanes of traffic, as well as shoulders. The Marquette County Road Commission also has been approved to use wing plows on state routes. To improve safety, additional flashing lights mounted over the wing plow alerts motorists.
"With decreases in funding and increasing costs, we're always looking to improve efficiency in our winter maintenance practices," said MDOT Superior Region Engineer Randy Van Portfliet. "But safety remains our top priority. These new lighting systems for wing plows will help us remove snow more efficiently while increasing motorist safety."
Motorists in Marquette, Baraga, Mackinac and Houghton counties will begin seeing wing plows with the new lighting systems clearing active lanes of traffic on state highways.