Iowa DOT prepared to keep roads safe this winter weather season

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GRIMES, Iowa – As we prepare for what could be the first snowflakes of the season, the Iowa Department of Transportation is on standby ready to go.

Iowa DOT Winter Operations Administrator Craig Bargfrede says they’ve been preparing for winter since October, and the snowplows are ready to roll.

Before they hit the road, DOT crews had a long to-do list.

“Maintenance activities, checking equipment, getting trucks outfitted, mounting plows, putting the tanks in the back,” Bargfrede explains, “just a litany of things that we’re doing prior to those dates to prepare and get ready for the winter season.”

Bargfrede makes sure each item is checked off and that crews have everything they need to keep roads safe, including around 240,000 tons of salt on hand.

“Our average annual usage is somewhere around 155,000,” Bargfrede said. “So going into the season we’re sitting in a really good position from a material standpoint.”

One logistic that’s lacking is staff. Bargfrede says there are more than 600 seasonal positions across the state, and they only have about 170 of them filled.

“So running just a little bit behind in our seasonal hirings,” Bargfrede said, “but again, not at a point where we’re seeing red flags go up or causing real concerns just yet.”

Thankfully, he says many workers from the construction and farming industries will help fill the gap.

As the DOT works hard to keep roads clear this winter, they urge drivers to give them some room, slow down, and be safe as well.

The Iowa DOT’s 511 website is a great resource to check out road conditions, as well as the WHO 13 Warn Me app to keep an eye on the radar and check out hourly forecasts.

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