Applications and Innovations
Better Roads Staff
End-users, both public agencies and in some jurisdictions private contractors who service the public highways, are discovering the TP26 offers more than one unit doing the work of two, says Simpson. “As a matter of fact, they are finding they can operate a little bit faster with this, because they put it in an area where there really isn’t anything to go dodging around. They’ll put it on a two-lane going one way, drive in the fast lane, and do the slow lane with the tow plow, and there’s nothing there to hit: No curbs, no mailboxes, no bridges. It just goes.”
Lannert terms this as “Phase 2” of the product’s application evolution. “TP trucks are being used to clear two lanes wide on rural interstates at speeds approaching 60 miles per hour,” he says. “This process was first initiated on I-55 and I-44 in Missouri, and again proven last winter. The increased width and higher operating speeds will increase operator production from two to four times the previous production when compared to conventional snow plow trucks with only front plows.”
Further expanding the versatility of the TP26 are two options available to standard single tank, usually filled with salt brine for ballast. (“We need weight on these tires when they steer out to make them stay where we want them to be,” explains Simpson.) A hopper sander can be installed, allowing the unit to sand a second lane. As another option, a contractor working in the Canadian Maritimes has installed two tanks, one ahead of the other, allowing a single unit to lay anti-icing liquid before the storm, then stay out and plow the roadway once the storm hits.
Back in Missouri, where Viking-Cives today operates its Midwest Division, Lannert had identified from the Energy Policy Act close to 20 years ago what today are considered glaring and obvious opportunities for products such as the TP. “Snow removal efforts in many states spend over $3 million for diesel fuel,” he says. “There are opportunities to reduce our fuel consumption by improving equipment designs and increasing productivity. This is often achieved by what I defined as One Pass Clearing.
“One Pass Clearing is now used to clear both rural interstate lanes in one pass at higher speeds. The higher speeds can easily be achieved because the implementation plan also includes the elimination of the front plow and utilizing high-speed underbody designs to allow the operator to safely see and operate at higher speeds, with my goal to operate snow plow trucks within 10 miles per hour of the traveling public’s speed during the storm,” explains Lannert. “This should help to reduce rear-end accidents, and we have seen additional evidence of reducing accidents because both lanes are in the same condition after the TP truck makes its pass. This is not the case with conventional methods, where agencies often used one truck to clear one lane and then returned later to clear the other. This situation sometimes caused drivers to lose control because of unequal conditions between the lanes.”
The implementation of the TP concept is “a result of MoDOT, Viking-Cives and myself partnering in an effort to dramatically improve highway services during snow storms while achieving savings in the operation,” says Lannert. “Yet, it would not have happened if I had not been a Missouri farm boy who learned that one can no longer compete by using four-row planters.
“Improvements have come from innovation of equipment enhancements in the farming industry and you will now see similar improvements in snow removal by doing more with less equipment investment, fuel and labor. Look out for the future! Snow plow operators will let the truck drive itself, allowing the operator to monitor all systems for safety, just like farm tractors are now guided in the fields: Hands free!” v
PLUS DIGITAL EXTRA
See our DIGITAL EDITION (at www.BetterRoads.com) – page 35a – for more high-resolution pictures of this tow plow.
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