Plows Ready to Roll After Back to Back Storms

AMES, Iowa -- There was no calm before the storm for the DOT employees at the Ames garage with another winter blast coming on the heels of Iowa’s first big snowfall of the season.

“We all came in this morning and it's been pretty hectic around here” said Assistant Supervisor Scott Robinson.

What some people may not realize is how much work the DOT road crews have to do between storms, especially ones that come one right after the other.

“We're working on motors, belts, hydraulic issues, we've had some problems with electrical issues. The environment we're running in isn't really conducive for electronic” said Robinson.

The garage has been busy with repairs and getting their plows topped off with fuel, and snow melting supplies and all 15 of their trucks are good to go for Thursday evening and Friday morning. DOT officials say with this particular storm the challenge isn't so much in the mechanics or the snow removal techniques, it's staffing.

“This is going to be a multi-day event, so shifting and providing enough personnel to meet the needs is going to be a key point. So, the timing of when these storms hit the various garages, they're looking at that right now. In the case of the Ames garage here, they're dividing their staff so they can cover multiple shifts 24 hours a day” said Winter Operations Administrator Craig Bargfrede.

With the bulk of the snow expected to be on the ground during the Friday morning commute, the DOT says motorists can help by simply being aware that plows will be out with them.

“If you didn't see the video from here in Ames last Monday, that should be a prime example of speed, visibility, following too close to the vehicle in front of you; you gotta adjust it” said Bargfrede.

For Iowans who may not know, two thirds of the state fleet of snow plows are equipped with cameras.  You can log onto and check the conditions out for yourself first hand.  Pictures are taken and updated every five minutes.