MDOT Tests Out Tow Plow Technology In Kalamazoo

Posted at 5:40 PM, Feb 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-06 17:43:25-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich– Gary Schultheis has been a plow driver for the last 6 years, and is the first person in Michigan to drive a tow plow. He was part of the MDOT crew that brought this tow plow to Kalamazoo Wednesday to test it out.

“I was excited when they were talking about getting it and when we finally got it here, to take it out and train on it and play with it and do stuff like this, it was a lot of fun. I was up for the challenge,” Schultheis said.

Basically, it’s an extra plow that attaches onto the back of a normal plow truck that swings out, and plows more ground.

“It has the capability of plowing up to 25 feet at once, which is substantially wider than one of our plow trucks alone, and quite a bit winder than a plow truck with a wing plow. It adds a few more feet and gives us two full lanes,” Nick Schirripa, MDOT spokes person said.

It’s budget friendly, too. A tow plow costs a little less than $100,000 and can last around 30 years, where a plow truck costs $200,000 and only last about 10 years.

“What we really need to look at before we just buy one of these is, does it fit our region? Are we going to be able to use it enough and it becomes beneficial even at half the cost, is it beneficial,” Schirripa said.

You might think it’s challenging to drive, but Gary says it’s actually quite simple; you just have to be aware of your surroundings.

“Getting the initial deployment, people kind of think the truck is jackknifing, so that can cause some issues too, but we are doing this stuff here, to make people aware of that,” Schultheis said.