Evaluating the Use of Tow Plows in Michigan

Over 70 percent of highways in the United States (US) including all of them in Michigan are located in snowy regions. According to Federal Highway Administration's Road Weather Management Program, 70 percent of the nation's population lives in these snowy regions. Clearing snow and ice accounts for more than 20 percent of State Department of Transportations (DOT's) in snowy region's maintenance budget. In Michigan, more than $3,000 per lane mile was spend in the last winter for plowing snow and salting. Due to rising costs of winter maintenance as well as environmental concerns related to use of salt, Michigan Department of Transportation has embarked a number of innovative approaches to enhance winter maintenance operations. These include, pre-wetting, alternative de-icing and anti-icing products and Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) etc. One of the new equipment evaluated by some of other State DOT's and Canadian provinces includes Tow Plow. Tow plow is a trailer mounted snow plow with 26' blade. When attached to a traditional snow plow with 12' front plow, the combination can clear a 25' path. MDOT is in the process of purchasing a Tow plow and there is a need for assessing the effectiveness of the Tow Plow in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and safety. The effectiveness of the Tow Plow can be measured by comparing route cycle time, time to meet a level of service, mobility of public during plowing operations and performance of snow plowing based on measured friction values against traditional snow plows. According to the RFP the following objectives were identified as primary tasks of this project: (1) Understand the current state of practice for Tow plows across the nation; (2) Learn the benefits/draw backs of utilizing Tow plow; (3) Understand the most efficient use of Tow Plows in Michigan; and (4) Development of training materials for operators on the safe and effective use of Tow plows.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:

      2013-0065 Z1


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Michigan Department of Transportation

      Van Wagoner Building
      425 W. Ottawa Street
      Lansing, MI  United States  48909
    • Project Managers:

      Croze, Tim

    • Performing Organizations:

      Lawrence Technological University

      Department of Civil Engineering
      21000 W. Ten Mile Rd
      Southfield, MI  United States  48075-1058
    • Principal Investigators:

      Bandara, Nishantha

    • Start Date: 20130102
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20150930
    • Source Data: RiP Project 34323

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01566722
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Michigan Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: 2013-0065 Z1, OR14-006
    • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jun 20 2015 1:00AM