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Tow plows speed up road-clearing process for UDOT drivers


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PROVO — The Utah Department of Transportation has a new weapon in the fight against snowy roads. It's called a tow plow, and it allows one truck to plow several lanes of highway at the same time.

"A tow plow is not your average plow," explained UDOT spokesman Muriel Xochimitl. "With just one driver and one pass (it) can clear several lanes of traffic, where a traditional plow can only do one lane at a time."

The tow plow really a trailer with a plow, along with a salt bin and a saline tank, and is towed by a regular tow truck. When a hydraulic arm swings the trailer sideways into the next lane of traffic, it more than doubles the amount of roadway the snowplow can clear.

With the completion of the new freeway in Utah County, there are more lane miles to clear on I-15, and the tow plows are making a big difference.

"It increases efficiency and reduces costs," Xochimitl said. "So with just one driver out with one plow, we can clear several lanes of traffic at a time, getting our job done much quicker, and keeping the roads safer."

Tow plows could be the wave of the future: UDOT was using a handful of them to help clear roads Tuesday evening. Three were in use in Utah County, and a fourth was on order.

One UDOT driver said he was nervous to drive the tow plow at first, just because it felt like he was driving two trucks at once. But he got used to it.

As more of these trucks hit the road, UDOT is really pleading with drivers to stay back at least 300 feet to give plow drivers the area they need to clear the roads.

"We just ask drivers to partner with us in slowing down, being cautious, so that we can keep the roads safe and get people where we need to go," Xochimitl said.

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Sam Penrod

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