A day in the life of a snowplow operator

Zhaia Mergen
Read Iowa DOT Information Specialist Zhaia Mergen's blog about her observations while riding along with a snowplow operator based out of Central Iowa on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010.


4:40 PM

Heading WB on I-235, noticed a vehicle in the EB lanes that spun out and possibly hit the wall. Tim looked back and he thinks they were able to drive away, so no collision, we're headed that way now, so we'll see.

4:39 PM

Sheri asked: What is the visibility?

Response to Sheri: Not too bad...I have no idea of the exact distance. Tim thinks maybe 3/4 mile around the mixmaster.

4:34 PM

We were able to get off on the E. 14th street exit and get back on I-80 EB. A sherrif was blocking the I-80 WB ramp at E. 14th Street, where the traffic incident is that has the two lanes closed.

4:32 PM

Tim: A lot of these 18-wheelers, if they aren't carrying a load, are going to have a hard time getting started back up. Their tires get warmed up from driving and then they have to sit and they warm up anything on the road and then they just sit and spin their tires.

4:30 PM

Nope. So, Tim is going to try to sneak by all the flashing lights. Traffic is backed up to the mixmaster due to the two righthand lanes of WB I-80 being closed.

4:27 PM

Tim is going to see if traffic will let him in to go over the I-80 WB to I-235 ramp again. Stay tuned.

4:26 PM

Just drove under the changeable message sign on I-235 indicating two righthand lanes of westbound I-80 are closed, just west of the east mixmaster.

4:24 PM

The circle entrance and exit ramps are bad, the snow just sticks to the surface, compared with the diamond ramps where, right now, the snow is blowing over the surface.

4:23 PM

At Euclid stoplight at the end of the I-235 exit ramp. Lots of drivers looking to get home, rush hour begins..

4:21 PM

Tim came in at 7 a.m. and will get off at 11 p.m. They will begin the 12 hour shift rotation and continue through the storm