If you think the drivers are tired, working those 12 hour shifts, think of how much stress the trucks are under going 24/7. The last couple of storms have dropped nearly a foot of snow in Salt Lake and this snow was heavy.
Jack Brown UDOT Roadway Operations Manager explained, “With 10 inches of snow, when you have 6 to 8 lanes wide, the end truck gets to push a lot of snow."
That takes a heavy toll on the equipment. Brown says almost every truck has been in the shop for some reason over the last two weeks.
"When we're not plowing snow we're trying to get our trucks back up and going that involves changing blades, changing tires, mechanical problems,” said Brown. “Our mechanics are working around the clock to make sure we stay on the road for the traveling public."
With 400 lane miles, mostly covered in concrete, they can go through plow blades in a single 12 hour shift.
It's not just snow these UDOT crews have been dealing with; because of the recent inversion the freezing temperatures kept ice covering the roadways and crews working around the clock.
Brown said, "We’re constantly using the trucks, running the sander, you're out and about the trucks are basically non-stop."
These trucks aren't cheap. They go for upwards of a $100,000. The oldest in the fleet, of course, needs the most care.
Brown said, "We have a 1996 and still going strong and the new guys drive that."
No matter how old the beasts may be, the crew knows to treat their machines with care.
"People depend on us to keep our equipment running and our guys take pride in what we take care of,” said Brown.