Snow plowing crews work long hours through the winter season. When a snow storm hits, road crews hit the streets at 3 a.m. to clear the roads in a hurry before the 8 a.m. rush hour. With over 3,500 miles of roads to cover, Bozeman, Montana’s road crew has an annual challenge to keep the roads clear and safe to drive on throughout the winter season.
With so much ground to cover in a busy mountain town like Bozeman, have you ever wondered how they get it done? Small towns may be able to manage it by just mere instinct, but Bozeman’s a bit more complicated.
There are large number of small residential streets in Bozeman that are easy to miss, so our road crew utilizes tracking technology with GPS units on each plow. The GPS transmits location data to the “command center” where plowed roads are displayed on their TV screen.
The logistic strategy for city plows is to first focus on the high traffic roads while the snow is still falling, and then double back when necessary. After the storm passes, the crews then moves on to clear residential streets.
While it may be frustrating for some people that their neighborhoods are not plowed immediately, they take for granted how nice it is to have this service. A lot of other mountain towns have fairly poor snow plowing services compared to Bozeman’s.
Another challenge that road crews have to deal with, particularly on residential streets, is all the parked cars, trailers, and campers in their way. It’s a big headache for crews when they have to dart in, out, and around obstacles on the street, which also leaves those cars blocked in after a heavy snow fall. Because of this hassle, the city recommends people to either avoid parking on the street after a storm, or move their cars every other day to allow the road crews to come back and clear spots that they missed on the first time around.
So the next time a big snow storm rolls through and you’re stuck behind a snowplow on the highway, be thankful that your tax-dollars are at work.