Department of Transportation rolls out mini-sanders

December 11, 2010

By Staff

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 11, 2010

The state Department of Transportation has rolled out another tool to combat ice and snow: eight mini-sanders.

Crews installed hopper sanders into two pickups, so the trucks can each carry a half-ton of sand. The agency has plans to install a third hopper on another pickup.

Plans call for five other trucks to be equipped with tailgate-mounted sanders that can carry nine cubic yards of sand

Transportation planners hope the smaller trucks can travel to difficult-to-reach spots.

“The fact that we couldn’t get some of our large sanding equipment to the scene of some of the most significant collisions during the Thanksgiving week storm caused us to look for solutions,” DOT Communications Director Steve Pierce said. “Converting some of our trucks into mini-sanders will let us maneuver more easily through stalled traffic to a problem area.”

Snow blanketed the area Nov. 22, snarling roads and mass transit systems across the Puget Sound region.

The agency has also readied a plan to work alongside the Washington State Patrol during future snowstorms.

DOT maintenance teams spent $5.58 million — including $2.38 million from Nov. 21-24. The breakdown: $1.75 million for labor and $1.37 million for materials. The agency has a two-year statewide budget of $73 million to fight snow and ice.

In King County alone, the DOT used almost 1,000 tons of salt, 1,000 cubic yards of sand-and-salt mix and 25,000 gallons of liquid de-icer.

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