NewsMontana News


Plowing roads means thousands of miles for MDT

Posted at 9:57 AM, Nov 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-18 12:45:04-05

GREAT FALLS – It’s about that time of year when drivers will start to see snow plows clearing roadways, but what many don’t know is how the Montana Department of Transportation retakes the roads when snow falls.

The MDT works around the clock to clear roads of commuting concerns.

“We have 14 trucks we utilize in the Great Falls section,” Scott Western, MDT Great Falls supervisor, said.

Statewide, the MDT has 591 plow trucks and 22 tow plows on call all winter long. While that’s a lot of trucks, it’s the miles that might surprise people.

“If it’s a major, statewide storm with all the plow trucks at MDT and a 24-hour period, they circle the earth twice for the amount of miles that are plowed,” Western said.

And that is just for one snowstorm.

Each year, the MDT maintains 25,000 miles of lane roads and plows four million miles of highway, which is about 160 times around the world or eight trips to the moon.

“We stay busy, busy, busy,” Western said.

The MDT asks that drivers stay back five car lengths away while plows are working to clear the roads.

-Elizabeth Copeland reporting for MTN News