24 January 2019

Ever wonder how multi-lane highways are snowplowed?

The process is nicely illustrated in this photo posted today in the Wisconsin State Journal.  It requires large, powerful trucks of course, but also an impressive degree of coordinated teamwork.  The difficulty arises because of an impenetrable concrete barrier separating the two directions of traffic (placed there to prevent catastrophic cross-overs).

Snow in the innermost lane has to be moved across three or four lanes and has to be cleared from that shoulder into a ditch.  It can't be done by one truck at a time, because that would pile the snow into the passing lane.  And the entire highway can't be done at one time, because the snow passed by 2-3 trucks would overwhelm the fourth one. 

Notice in the photo above that the trucks on the left of the photo are driving in previously-plowed lanes (as shown for the traffic going the other way).  Those central and outer lanes are done first, and then the entire team has to assemble in order to clear the snow from the innermost one.

Quite remarkable.  These snow-removal truck drivers are winter heroes here in the Midwest (even if they do sometimes leave huge solidified masses of frozen snow where your driveway meets the road...).


  1. Fascinating! And kind of nice to look at when you are living through days in the 40s (Celsius).

  2. Good luck the coming days.

    1. Yup. Spent the morning clearing my sidewalk, driveway, and roof. Temps to 25-below-zero and wind chills to 50-below predicted for midweek.


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