New snowplow testing in eastern U.P.

From the Michigan Department of Transportation:

MDOT will be testing out its newest snowplow, the Tow Plow, in Mackinac County. This new type of plow is a patented, tandem-style machine that essentially is a snowplow towed by a standard plow truck. It can clear widths up to 25 feet – two full lanes – in one pass. The Tow Plow already is being used on I-96 and US-23 in Livingston County near the city of Brighton.

Starting Thursday morning, the Tow Plow will be used on I-75 and US-2 in Mackinac County. MDOT maintenance personnel from its St. Ignace, Engadine, Houghton and L’Anse facilities will be trained to use the new equipment, and then can train others on the Tow Plow.

The Tow Plow saves on equipment and personnel costs by enabling one plow operator to accomplish the work of two. By using this machine, crews can clear both the travel lane and shoulder in one pass, thus reducing the time needed to clear the freeway during a winter storm event. This will improve service while reducing labor and equipment costs, as well as fuel consumption.

When activated, the wheels of the Tow Plow turn as much as 30 degrees, causing the Tow Plow to steer right of the plow truck. When in use, the Tow Plow works similar to a wing plow, only with greater reach.

The Tow Plow also is equipped with a salt hopper, with room for a spreader to be mounted on the plow. All controls for the Tow Plow and its accessories are mounted within the cab of the plow truck.

Other states successfully using Tow Plows include Missouri, Minnesota, Maine, Wisconsin, Utah, and Ohio.

For more information on MDOT’s Tow Plow, go to,4616,7-151-9621_11008-291327–,00.html.