Cape Gazette

Crews ready for winter snow

DelDOT gives Sussex yards high marks during equipment inspections
By Ron MacArthur | Dec 05, 2013
Photo by: Ron MacArthur DelDOT snow plows line up for inspection during the annual event in preparation for the winter season.

Dozens of pieces of heavy equipment were shining in the morning sun as they lined up Nov. 13 for the annual Delaware Department of Transportation snow-plow inspection at the Gravel Hill yard near Georgetown.

It seemed only fitting that the temperature and wind-chill factor resembled a cold winter day more than a fall morning.

All six Sussex County DelDOT maintenance yards undergo an inspection each year before winter sets in. DelDOT spokesman Jim Westhoff said crews take extreme pride in getting the equipment ready.

Crews at Gravel Hill, known as Area 20, received a perfect score for the 29 pieces of equipment that were inspected. Area 2 in Seaford also received a perfect score, Westhoff said.

Area 20 is a floating crew that can respond anywhere in the county during a snow or ice emergency.

Westhoff said DelDOT has to be ready for worst-case scenarios such as the back-to-back blizzards in February 2010. As many as 500 employees with 450 pieces of equipment are available to respond to snow removal operations. In addition, DelDOT hires private contractors to help with snow removal on bus routes, along highway shoulders and with clearing highway crossover areas and intersections, Westhoff said.

DelDOT primarily uses salt along with salt/brine and salt/sand mixtures on state roads. This year, about 65,000 tons of salt are stockpiled at more than 20 locations throughout the state.

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the greatest chance for snow this winter will occur in early- to mid-December and early- to mid-February.



Greg Reed prepares to check tire pressure during DelDOT's annual inspection. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
A compact excavator is checked out by DelDOT inspectors. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Everything is checked, including fluid levels under the hood of equipment used in snow removal. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Gary Hudson makes sure a plow is in proper working order. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
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