INDOT’s number one priority during the winter is snow and ice removal. INDOT normally conducts winter operations between mid-November and mid-March each winter season.
INDOT Plowing Procedures
INDOT staff monitors multiple weather forecasts and deploys up to 2,000 drivers, mechanics, clerks and managers before predicted winter weather to work alternating 12-hour shifts, 7 days per week, if needed to keep its more than 28,000 lane miles of interstates, U.S. highways and state highways in Indiana as safe as possible. INDOT strives to meet this priority through the following goals:
- Keep all roads and bridges open and passable
- Operate as efficiently and effectively as possible
- Maximize mobility and safety during winter weather conditions
Snow and ice removal activities consist of:
- Anti-icing: Under appropriate weather conditions, pre-treatment of highways with salt brine prior to a storm to help keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement
- Plowing: The mechanical means of removing snow and ice from the pavement
- De-icing: The application of various chlorides to help break the bond or to keep the snow and ice pack in a condition that allows the snow pack to be plowed from the roadway.
During winter storms, INDOT plows every interstate, U.S. highway and state route every 2 to 3 hours with salt assisting in melting between passes until there is exposed pavement on the travel lanes. Occasionally during these times you may see INDOT’s yellow plow trucks driving at higher speeds with their plow blades up as they leave the assigned route to reload on salt or fuel. Other cleanup activities, such as pushing back snow on shoulders and clearing storm drains, may occur during normal working hours.
Equipment may also be relocated to other regions as weather conditions dictate to assist with keeping roadways passable.
When beginning an assigned route, INDOT plow drivers may perform one or more “dry runs” before winter storms to acquaint themselves with the locations of drainage inlets, manholes, curbing and driveway entrances. Knowledge of roadway obstacles and special treatment areas – such as hills, curves, intersections, drift prone stretches and cold spots – ensures more efficient storm fighting and greater safety for motorists and INDOT drivers.
INDOT plow drivers exercise care to prevent damage to signs, mailboxes, or parked vehicles, however these accidents can, and do, occasionally happen. This is not typically caused by the plow blade itself, but the force of the snow being plowed.
For the latest information concerning road conditions visit Indiana Travel Conditions, or call 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) or 5-1-1 from your cell phone. All services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.