ODOT plows go ‘green’ this winter
By Dean Shipley
It’s one green light that doesn’t mean go.
This green light, more properly THESE green lights are mounted on an ODOT snow plow. They will flash alternately with white and amber lights while the plow will be removing snow from the paths of Madison County drivers. The intention of the new set of flashing lights is to warn drivers a plow is rolling ahead of them to clear snow and/or ice from their path and to stay back.
The green light equipped snow plow glowed in its verdant glory early Wednesday morning during ODOT’s annual inspection of its snow-removal equipment at the ODOT facility on U.S. Route 42. ODOT has begun a fitting/retrofitting of its fleet of snow plows with the lights as a safety measure.
Simply put, ODOT doesn’t want drivers to run up on the rear of their $185,000 units.
“The change to multi-colored lights was driven by the number of vehicles rear-ending ODOT’s plow trucks,” said ODOT District 6 Deputy Director Ferzan M. Ahmed. “Ohio has four times the number of rear-end collisions as our neighboring states.”
ODOT has budgeted $4 million for the retrofit/fitting of the lights to the trucks. Shawn Rostorfer, Transportation Administrator for Madison County, said new trucks will come already fitted with the new light configuration. Trucks already in the fleet will be retrofitted. He said the retrofit will be either merely a bulb, if the fixture will accept it, or a new fixture, bulb and all.
ODOT will be the first department of transportation in the nation to fit their plows with green lights and one of the first states in the nation to use a combination of colors.
It’s all about safety.
In addition to the lights, ODOT is using Madison County as part of a pilot program to use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) software in 16 ODOT snow plows.
In demonstrating the unit, Rostorfer pointed out the benefits of the technology:
• Determine salt application rates and cycles
• Evaluate the effectiveness of different de-icing products
• Pinpoint exact locations
• Accurately measure the amount of salt used
• Redirect crews to areas that require extra attention
• Improve efficiency