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New York - New Multi-Lane Plows Alarming Motorists On NYS Highways

Published on: March 14, 2017 09:25 PM
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The new tow plow making its rounds on I-81 north in Binghamton, Broome County. on Mar. 14, 2017.The new tow plow making its rounds on I-81 north in Binghamton, Broome County. on Mar. 14, 2017.

New York - A fleet of new snow plows deployed this winter by the Department of Transportation to maximize efficiency when clearing roads may well be doing their job in just half the time of their predecessors but are also reportedly frightening motorists.

The New York State DOT announced the deployment of 62 new plows, part of $50 million in state allocated funds to improve storm preparedness, in late December.

The new equipment can clear two lanes of traffic simultaneously through the use of a hydraulic tow plow attached to the rear of a conventional dump truck that can swing out to clear an additional 12 foot section of the roadway as needed. The updated plows, which are equipped with rear lighting and two rear cameras to provide greater rear visibility, were released throughout the state in the areas that are typically hit hardest by winter storms.


But according to reports on HudsonValley.com (http://bit.ly/2n6F6D5), drivers are finding themselves alarmed when the rear tow portion swings to the side to clear an additional lane.  The DOT has responded to drivers’ concerns that the vehicles look like they are jackknifing or going out of control with a post on Twitter showing one of the plows in operation and advising motorists, “don’t worry, it’s supposed to do that.”

Drivers received 12 hours of training on the new equipment, but in at least one incident an operator of one of the new trucks went off the road on Interstate 81 in upstate New York and hit the median, as reported by Syracuse.com (http://bit.ly/2moJGbj).

A motorist who was on Interstate 81 when that collision occurred in January said that the new plow was traveling at a speed that ranged between nine and 15 miles per hour, creating massive backups and a potential safety hazard.

“Take these things OFF the roadway immediately,” wrote Stephen Woodward in an email to Commissioner Matthew Driscoll of the DOT.  “I am convinced that I or someone else will be killed if these stay on the road.”

In his response, Driscoll indicated that the DOT feels strongly that the new equipment is both safe and practical.

“We remain fully confident they will be an asset to our snow and ice response,” said Driscoll.

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