Crews ready for winter; Long hours ahead for MDOT, BCRC

HIGH TECH–L’Anse MDOT Maintenance Supervisor John Dault shows the array of equipment in one of the international tandem trucks. Operators have a ton of switches, controls, gauges and indicators to control and monitor all the functions happening in often-bad driving conditions at highway speed. Dault is looking into a computer screen with real-time Doppler weather radar. From Dault’s office he can see camera views through the windshields of any of the eight trucks to monitor road conditions.

by Barry Drue
You don’t have to tell the crews at the state and county road garages that it’s the beginning of a long, tiring, busy season. Winter snow plowing and road maintenance will keep employees with both organizations hopping for months. Keeping area local roads and highways open and safe is a huge, well-choreographed operation for the county and state crews.  “We run a 21-hour, seven day a week operation. We sleep three hours a day from November through April,” said L’Anse MDOT facility Maintenance Supervisor John Dault. “The first and last storms are usually the most difficult. And the most dangerous time is from now until after the first of the year. There are a lot of moms and dads and kids out shopping or going to programs. Mother Nature can deal a bad hand. I don’t sleep a lot right now.” Dault directs an operation that includes 10 year-round employees and an additional six brought on for winter road maintenance. They are responsible for 250 lane-miles of state and federal highway. The L’Anse facility houses eight tandem International trucks that are highly complex and electronically equipped. They’re far more than “snow plows”.  To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.