The Montana Department of Transportation has deployed a new “Tow Plow” for I-15 north and south of Shelby as snow hits our region. The tow plow is a steerable, trailer-mounted plow that is pulled behind the snowplow truck. The plow can be rotated to one side of the truck, doubling the plow width of the snowplow truck. This gives the snowplow operator the ability to move snow efficiently and safely from two lanes of roadway in one pass.
What that means for drivers in our area is to slow down and stay behind the snowplow. Here’s what else drivers should do:
Allow at least five car lengths between your vehicle and the snowplow.
Periodically, the plow operator will pull to the side of the road, retract the plow wing or rotate the tow plow out of the way and allow vehicles to pass. Just remember, the road behind the plow will be the safest place to drive.
Be particularly aware of icy conditions on surfaces, such as bridge deck and entrance and exit ramps.
Turn on headlights and turn off cruise control settings.
With the tow plow, our local snowplow operators can clear twice as much snow! This makes for increase efficiency, reducing manpower and equipment. It also provides for safety improvements due to improved snow removal times and it environmentally and financially benefits our State from using less fuel.
Currently, there are tow plows operating in the Helena, Butte, Bozeman, Billings, Miles City, Missoula, Kalispell and Great Falls areas. As you travel the state this winter, please watch for the tow plow and slow down and stay behind the snowplow!