In preparation for winter weather, the South Dakota Department of Transportation has purchased three new tow plows and launched a website dedicated to real-time updates during severe weather and disaster situations.
The tow plows, which are pulled behind a snowplow truck and used in addition to a front plow, allow operators to remove snow from one lane and the shoulder in one pass, or widths up to 25 feet. The agency deployed its first tow plow last year.
When the driver deploys the bi-directional tow plow, the wheels turn as much as 30 degrees in either direction, which causes the tow plow to steer to the right or left of the truck. The tow plow works similar to a wing plow but with a greater reach to clear more surface area.
The department’s tow plows will have different setups for material that can be used to more effectively treat road surfaces. Both setups can apply a direct liquid spray or a pre-wetting salt application.
In addition, the state launched SDResponse.gov to provide real-time information during severe weather and disaster situations. The website currently houses information on drought, fire, and winter weather, and tabs will rotate depending on the season and current events in the state. The website also includes an archive of information from emergencies dating back to 2011, including the 2011 flood, Winter Storm Atlas, two tornadoes, and the 2014 Big Sioux River flood.