Rewritten Snow Plan to Make for Safer Winter Travel in Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Experiences with snow can vary, from joyful snow days to terrifying traffic.

For Des Moines Public Works Director Jonathan Gano, it brings a unique meaning. "The full size dump trucks with snow plows and spreaders, small trucks with plows and motor graders, and equipment graders."

In preparation for Friday's first snow, his staff of 200, including 61 snow plows, will be fully prepared. "We did a complete re-write of our snow plan."

Drivers will noticeably see more routes with multiple plows, said Gano, "Two, three sometimes five plows working together spread out in a wing formation so they carry all the snow across all the lanes all in one pass."

It's something drivers won't see that could prove most helpful. "An anti-icing application, the white stripes of salt brine."

A dozen anti-icing trucks hit the streets Thursday, Gano says it's that work that will be key in helping Des Moines drivers dash through the snow with ease. "For most of the storms it makes a big difference. It makes the snow a lot easier to plow off because it can't freeze to ground in the first place," said Gano.

20 miles or five percent of the snow route system has also been reconfigured this year. "We went ahead and pulled the trigger on aligning the snow routes with the bus routes."

Gano hopes the changes will allow both drivers and school buses a safer journey, but one group may be tough to please, the students. "It's a shame that our interest in snow removal are in direct conflict with every school child's wish for a snow day," said Gano.

With the addition of multiple plows on the same street, Gano says do not try to pass in between or alongside, even if there's an open lane.

He plans to keep crews out around the clock from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning.

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