New, wider Caltrans snowplow debuts on Interstate 80

Warning from Caltrans cautions drivers to stay far behind equipment
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Caltrans is alerting the public that a new, wider snowplow rig will go into service during Thursday’s forecast storm.

According to Caltrans spokeswoman Rochelle Jenkins, Thursday’s anticipated snowstorm will be the first opportunity the state Department of Transportation will have to use the specialized “tow-plow” snow-removal equipment in California.

The new machine at the rear of a regular, pulling plow moves to the right side of the towing vehicle when activated.

Jenkins said a normal Caltrans plow has a snow-removal width of 10 to 12 feet. The tow plow will increase that swath, allowing 28 feet of roadway to be cleared at once, she said.

While the new equipment may be something motorists are interested to see in action, Caltrans is advising motorists to remain 100 feet behind it when its lights are flashing.

Caltrans is also reminding motorists that the maximum speed is 30 miles an hour along I-80 chain-control areas.