Detroit purchases new snow plows, seeking more drivers

Posted at 4:37 PM, Nov 17, 2016

The city of Detroit is preparing for snow-covered roads.

On Thursday, the Public Works Department unveiled one of the city’s 29 new snow plows. The city has 20 of it’s new trucks on hand currently, another nine will be arriving over the next few weeks.

Each of the plows costs between $160,000 and $180,000 depending on a number of smaller details.

Ron Brundidge, the director of Detroit Public Works, said that the new trucks will allow the city to retire some of the older trucks in it’s current fleet.

The new trucks can be used to spread salt, pre-treat roads and scrape roads clear of snow. In fact, the blades are one of the best features of the newer trucks.

“This particular blade has a design on it that will allow us to get all the way down to the ground to provide a much better job of clearing the snow,” said Brundidge. “In the past we’ve actually bad to have all of our blades be situated a quarter of an inch from the surface.”

That quarter of an inch will make a big difference.

Doug Collins, a superintendent at the Russell Ferry location, said that people who drive Detroit’s main roads should notice a difference while driving to and from work.

“They absolutely should,” said Collin.  “Yeah, they absolutely should notice a difference in the road conditions. I think we’re going to be a lot better off this year than in past years with this newer equipment.”

Detroit has three different strategies for snow events depending on how much snow falls.

Minor snow falls up to 3 inches, which makes up roughly 80-percent of the city’s snow events, call for salt on the roads. The city doesn’t typically plow for anything less than three inches.

A combination of salt and plow trucks is used when there is 3-6 inches of snowfall, while anything six inches and above calls for every plow on the street until the roads are cleared enough to lay down salt.

The plan calls for a lot of drivers. At this moment the city of Detroit has roughly 115 drivers in place, but they’re hiring an additional 40 heading into the snow season.

According to Brundidge, they still need another 20 drivers.

“For those of you hearing this message, and you have your commercial drivers license, I really encourage you to go to the city’s website and apply for positions that are immediately available.”

The positions are not full-time to start, but they do pay between $13.50 and $15.50 depending on experience.

The city plows typically work on clearing 674 miles of major roads after snow storms. Private contractors cover an additional 1,880 miles of residential streets whenever six inches of snow, or more, fall.