Safe streets: INDOT and Toll Road prepare for another winter

Safe streets: INDOT and Toll Road prepare for another winter

Another winter season is upon here in Michiana and that means one thing: dangerous driving conditions are coming back! Every winter season, thousands of crews work at all hours of the day and night to keep miles of Michiana streets and highways clear of snow and ice. And everyone in Michiana knows how dangerous roads and highways can be, even with the plows out there salting and clearing. 

Adam Parkhouse, Media Relations Director at the INDOT LaPorte District, knows that trouble spot well: 

There’s a lot that goes into it. It’s not just a matter of, they get into a truck, drop the plow and go. There’s a lot that goes into it, a lot of planning. Sometimes when that snow is really falling hard, it can be challenging.

Unit foremans at INDOT, like Don Edmonson, say that workers need help from the public to make sure that everyone is safe on the roads.

have patience so that we can get you where you need to be in a timely and safe fashion.

Another operation that getting ready for the cold and snow is the Indiana Toll Road. And preparation actually starts long before any snow makes it to the ground. Rick Fedder, Chief Operating Officer for the Indiana Toll Road, describes the equipment that the winter operations team uses to keep drivers safe.

The Toll Road is divided into five maintenance areas. In those five maintenance areas, we have about 45 snow-removal trucks at our disposal.

Fedder says his team is working on advancing the way it responds to storms: 2019, we’ll have replaced all of our snow fleet with state-of-the-art equipment, trucks that are capable of, not only plowing the lane they’re in, but they can drop an extra plow to the side, and plow the shoulder at the same time.

The Indiana Toll Road also has digital, dynamic message signs that can warn drivers about winter weather ahead, plows in the areas, and other problems like traffic accidents or slowdowns farther along the roadway. Even with the advancements in warning systems put in place by the Toll Road and INDOT, the first few snows of the season continue to see the most accidents. When those first flakes fly, law enforcement continues to stress safety.

I talked with Indiana State Police Sgt. Jeff Whiteman, who monitors a portion of the Toll Road, says the steps towards safe winter driving have not changed much over the years: 

You give yourself more time, you increase your distance between vehicles, you reduce your speed.

Along with that advice, be sure to give the plows their space when out on the roads. Have patience, slow down, and give yourself extra time when the snow is coming down this winter season. 

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