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.


4:19 PM

Doug asked: How much snow would you guess has fallen?

Response to Doug: Tim says about a half inch, just enough to mess up the road. When it is real dry everyone thinks it's still okay.

4:19 PM

On I-80 westbound, passed two Motor Vehicle Enforcement officers. Tim suspects that they are trying to slow down traffic for what is up ahead. Two lanes of I-80 were closed, not sure if they still are as we are now on the ramp to I-235

4:15 PM

DGFN01 asked: Is the snowplow truck loaded with salt or is Tim just plowing snow?

Response to DGFN01: A mix of salt (calcium chloride) and sand...currently not laying anything down. He says people wonder why he isn't laying any material, but in this cold temp if he lays anything down it will make the road more slick. Right now the road is dry, snow blowing across it.

4:14 PM

just passed a pick-up truck on the shoulder of the ramp from the bypass to I-80 westbound. Tim overlaps with the other snow plow operators to ensure coverage.

4:10 PM

Renee asked: How long does it take for this route to be cleared?

Response to Renee: One run of this route, including entrance and exit ramps takes about 2.5 hours. That is one push through the whole route. While clearing the route, Tim tries to make sure he clears the lines so that drivers have a point of reference of where they are at on the road.

4:00 PM

Lots of people driving without their headlights on. Remember to have your headlights on in order to see and be seen.

3:58 PM

Heading out with Tim Livingston, snowplow operator for the Iowa DOT. Started on I-80 eastbound from the E. 14th Street entrance ramp. Traffic was stopped on I-80 westbound, with a state trooper assisting an incident.

3:35 PM


3:30 PM

I am currently at the Des Moines North maintenance shop waiting for the snowplow operator to come in and pick me up. We will be covering I-35 from Corporate Woods Drive to Euclid or Guthrie Avenue, I-80 from E. 14th Street to the Bypass and all of the entrance/exit ramps along this route.