Fifty Iowa DOT snow plows damaged so far this winter

(Ames, IA) -- Fifty state snow plow trucks have been hit this winter season. Craig Bargfrede of the Iowa Department of Transportation says most of the collisions happened in January and this month, when more trucks were in service because of winter storms. Bargfrede says most trucks damaged had been rear-ended or sideswiped by other vehicles. He says likely drivers were going too fast for conditions.

The DOT typically has trucks damaged each winter, but the numbers are up this year because of more snow storms, and more trucks clearing highways.

Bargfrede says damage to the plow trucks ranges from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. He says the damage can be higher because because systems used to spread materials are located on the back of the truck.

Each year, the state replaces 70-to-75 snow plow trucks that age-out, typically after 13-to-15 years in service. A new snow plow truck can cost between $180,000 and $200,000.

He also says while the state has hundreds of plows, any plow taken out of services forces adjustments in snow runs. He says there are very few spare plows that can be activated.

He says fewer plow trucks, typically slows the road-clearing process.

Bargfrede says despite the dozens of collisions, their drivers have been okay. He says some have suffered bumps and bruises, but fortunately no serious injuries.

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