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UDOT to work overnight, prepping for snowy Tuesday commute

Posted at 10:21 PM, Feb 15, 2021

As the latest winter storm starts to make its way across northern Utah Monday night, U DOTUtah Department of Transportation said their plow drivers are ramping up for what could be one of the busier weeks for them so far this winter.

Hours before the snow hit Monday afternoon and evening, the real work began for plow drivers up Parleys Canyon.

At 6 p.m., the night shift took over operations at the UDOT Parleys Canyon maintenance shed. Drivers hopped into plows knowing they'd be stepping into a busy day, and what's expected to be a busy week.

"The last couple [storms] and this coming up [storm] here down the road are probably going to be the longest duration and the most intense, possibly," said Lee Squires, a transportation technician with UDOT Region 2.

READ: Snowfall to pick up in intensity along Wasatch Front through the night

After topping off with brine and salt, the plow fleet took off and headed for I-80, first working down toward the canyon's mouth.

Squires explained that the crew would drive into part of the Salt Lake Valley past the entrance to Parleys Canyon, then turn around and head all the way up to the summit.

The next winter storm may not have been in full force yet, but UDOT called in the full team to hit the roads early. The first focus, Squires indicated, was putting down brine.

He said the brine prevents the snow from bonding to the road.

"It's that thing that makes it easier to plow snow, and snow removal, and to keep roads in the best condition possible," Squires explained.

When the flakes start to fall, pouring brine on the roads will transition into scraping snow off the pavement. Squires talked about how they'll also be carefully monitoring the pavement temperature to make sure anything on the highway doesn't freeze.

"We're going to do everything we can to keep the road open and keep traffic moving," he said.

The night shift crew will still be working the roads as many Utahns awake Tuesday morning and head out for work. Before hitting the highway, Squires suggested drivers make sure their vehicles are just as ready as UDOT plows are to handle conditions.

That includes tires with proper treads, the right emergency supplies on hand (like extra water, food, a blanket), a gas tank full of fuel, and the expectation that roads will be slick and dangerous.

"Be prepared for the worst," Squires warned.

Click here to see the latest road conditions and plow locations on the UDOT website.