Iowa’s trees are slowing losing their leaves, a sure sign that winter is on the way. Dennis Burkheimer, winter operations administrator for the Iowa Department of Transportation, says his agency is ready.
“We have well over 200,000 tons of salt throughout the state and we’ve got about 900 trucks all ready to go. The plows have been fitted and calibrated,” Burkheimer said. “So, most of our equipment, operators and resources are available for the winter.” The Iowa D-O-T’s maintenance garages employ nearly 1,200 equipment operators, mechanics and supervisors. Burkheimer is hoping this winter is a little less eventful than the previous couple of winters.
“The last two winters have been extremely tough for us,” Burkheimer said. “We’ve had record snowfalls and some cold temperatures. So, they were pretty rough on us…as far as the amount of resources and effort for snow removal operations.” Iowa D.O.T. workers are in charge of keeping nearly 9,400 miles of highways and interstates clear of snow and ice.
Burkheimer says they’ll start this season with a stockpile of roughly 210,000 tons of salt and nearly 2.5 million gallons of salt brine. He’s asking Iowans to also prepare for winter by checking their vehicles.
“If you have somebody that can take a look at your tires, wipers, exhaust system, heater and defroster – just to make sure they’re working properly – it makes it a lot easier to get through the winter with everything working the way you want it to, rather than have a break down sometime during the winter and have some real problems,” Burkheimer said.