MDOT deploys wing plows in four U.P. counties

Photo Courtesy: MDOT. Trucks with wing plows deployed show the two new styles of warning lights that will be used this year on Upper Peninsula roadways. Recently, MDOT’s U.P. plowing fleet and the Marquette County Road Commission began using wing plows to clear active lanes of traffic, as well as shoulders

Courtesy:  MDOT

MARQUETTE COUNTY To help make sure everyone gets to their destination safely this winter, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and county road commissions in the Upper Peninsula will be spreading their wings to plow more efficiently.

Wing plows are typically deployed on the right side of a standard plow truck, extending the plow’s reach and allowing a driver to clear about 14 feet in one pass instead of 9-10 feet. Using the wing plow, crews can clear both the travel lane and shoulder in one pass, thus reducing the number of passes needed to clear the road during and after a winter snow event. This improves service while cutting labor, equipment and fuel costs.

Recently, MDOT’s U.P. plowing fleet began using wing plows to clear active lanes of traffic, as well as shoulders. The Marquette County Road Commission also has been approved to use wing plows on state routes. When the wing is deployed, motorists will be alerted by additional flashing lights mounted over the wing plow.

Motorists should never attempt to pass a moving snowplow on the right whether a wing plow is being used or not. It’s illegal and dangerous. However, the new lighting systems are designed to make the wing plow much more visible.

“With decreases in funding and increasing costs, we’re always looking to improve efficiency in our winter maintenance practices,” said MDOT Superior Region Engineer Randy Van Portfliet. “But safety remains our top priority. These new lighting systems for wing plows will help us remove snow more efficiently while increasing motorist safety.”

Motorists in Marquette, Baraga, Mackinac and Houghton counties will begin seeing wing plows with the new lighting systems clearing active lanes of traffic on state highways.

“Remember to give plow drivers plenty of room to perform their job properly,” Van Portfliet said