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Wheatland WYDOT boasts bi-directional snowplow

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Via the Wyoming News Exchange

WHEATLAND (WNE) — More than 6,000 lane miles have been clocked in five months, 40 miles at a time, on the bi-directional “tow plow” snowplow in its use on the interstate from Wheatland to Glendo this winter.

The snowplow with a $575,000 price tag arrived at the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s (WYDOT) Wheatland facility in November and boasts the capability of plowing 24 feet of snow – that’s both lanes of the interstate – at one time.

The operator can choose to deploy the tow plow to either the right or left side of the vehicle via a steer axle on the trailer, which allows the trailer tires to shift the entire unit to either side of the truck without interfering with the forward motion of the vehicle.

This is in addition to the usual front snow plow and wing plow.

The new bi-directional tow plow can carry 22 tons of sand and 700 gallons of brine (used to make the sand stick to the road) and weighs 109,000 pounds when fully loaded.

When applying no less than 800 pounds per mile, that’s approximately enough to go from Wheatland to Glendo and back, according to Wheatland crew manager Darren Albright.

“There’s a big benefit. We can run one driver to clear snow in this truck from interstate mile markers 92 to 112 and two trucks on mm 92 to 72, at one time,” he said.

“It’s an absolute game changer,”said Brandon Graves, lead mechanic.

There will be some adjustments by the traveling public to get used to a snowplow that takes up the entire width of the interstate. “Give us room to groom, as the saying goes,” Albright said.

Currently there are nine tow plows throughout the state, with only two that are bi-directional. Those are in Evanston and Wheatland.

This story was published on April 3, 2024.

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