DOT STUDY: Snow Drifting Prevention

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The Iowa Department of Transportation is working on new ways to keep snow from drifting on main highways and causing dangerous driving conditions.

“To give us an idea of how much right of way we would need to be able to do right of way type of fencing…whether it’s a living fence or a man-made fence,” says Annette Dunn, DOT Winter Operations Manager.

Wind blowing across Iowa highways can cause drifting

Now, the DOT has monitors along some roads, like Highway 20 near Williams. They are trying to find out how they can make the right of way wider, to trap snow between the fence and the road.

The DOT also wants to find better ways of preventing snow from drifting with man-made fencing or with trees and shrubs.

Iowa’s changing agriculture has caused the DOT to rethink its old way of putting up picket fences as a snow fence in farmer’s fields.

“As Iowa becomes more of a corporate farming, and farming costs the farmers a little more — they need to get into the fields earlier they’re less likely to want our materials in their fields or want leave materials in their field, leaving the snow pack in their field keeping it wet,” says Dunn.

The DOT study on wind breaks will wrap up next summer with some kind of recommendation on how new right of way road projects can be best used to keep snow off the road.