Michiana snow response, plows gearing up

NOW: Michiana snow response, plows gearing up

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich - With lots of snow expected in Southwest Michigan in the coming days, road crews are getting prepped and ready to keep you safe.

However, with temperatures in the teens this weekend, some road clearing techniques might not be as effective.

Salt is a key player in the battle against ice, but when temperatures drop into the low teens, it's not as effective. And the snow piled on top can freeze over it quickly.

Snowplows are gearing up to make the rounds and do most of the work. 

“We have 85 plows that run 65 snow routes across seven counties as long as snow is falling, we're running around the clock. It's 24/7, it's a continuous operation, usually we will continue after the snow fall stops," said Nick Schirripa, an MDOT spokesperson.

Schirripa says plows are ready to respond, while waiting till Friday to decide whether to pre-treat the roads. 

Adri Boone, with the Berrien County Road Department, says there's limited night staff to address emergency calls.

But come Friday, the day shift will start early at 4 a.m., prioritizing the heaviest traffic areas first before moving into residential neighborhoods. 

"We have a day shift that is ran by 48 individuals, each of those individuals has a route and a truck that they are running to sufficiently operate through their network, with all those individuals going through those routes it takes a day, sometimes a couple days depending, the weather conditions are variable," said Boone.

Anyone who can't avoid driving through the snow should still try to avoid getting in the way of snowplows on the road.

“If you are following a plow truck, make sure you are giving them at a bare minimum 150 feet back, it's for your safety and our operators' safety. So, they are distributing that salt sand mixture from the back to add traction and they're also plowing the roads, so visibility is usually a little bit lower behind the plow truck," said Boone.

If you need to hit the road, give yourself extra time, reduce your speed, avoid tailgating, and try to eliminate distractions.

Dress comfortably so if you do happen to get stuck out there, you can wait safely in your car until a tow truck can reach you.

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