Maryland SHA Releases Winter Driving Tool

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) recently announced a new tool to help drivers negotiate Maryland highways during the time of severe winter weather.

The application, named STORM, will allow citizens to track the movements of SHA and private contractors’ brine trucks as they pre-treat the roads ahead of snowstorms and then the travels of snowplowing equipment once winter weather strikes. The application will only show the movements of the trucks when they are moving at more than 10 mph, which will eliminate screen
clutter especially around depots where snowplows come and go with fresh loads of sand and brine.

SHA Administrator Gregory Slater said, “An average snow route takes a plow driver approximately 90 minutes to complete. The new app will show where they are and where they have most recently traveled.”

State roads will always be numbered and also will usually have a name. An example would be Maryland Route 355, which is
also named Frederick Road. Unnumbered roads are always county roads and under the jurisdiction of Montgomery County.

SHA typically pre-treats Maryland state roads with salt brine in advance of winter storms that are forecasted to begin as snow. If the forecast is for rain or freezing rain, the brine will be washed off of the road, wasting labor and time. The temperature
must be 20 degrees higher to apply salt brine. Crews usually spray brine on roads in the days preceding a snowstorm, which allows it to dry leaving the familiar streaks on the roadway. That film on the road helps to prevent the initial bonding of snow and ice from forming.

Maryland Department of Transportation urges citizens to take it slow on ice and snow. Don’t pass snow plows or plow trains. The unplowed road is ahead of plows and the treated road is behind them. Be sure to clear your car completely of snow and ice before you drive. A clean vehicle provides increased visibility, and snow on car rooftops can become dangerous projectiles in the days after the storm.

To access the tool, visit maryland.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=063bc92489094dbc8d34c9c2001a38a4.

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