Winter Weather Preparations Underway

With winter looming, MTA Bridges and Tunnels is working hard to make sure its arsenal of snow and ice-fighting equipment, including 8,000 tons of deicer and a fleet of 102 trucks, are ready to go.

Winter Weather Preparations Underway

Snow plows are being fitted onto regular maintenance trucks and salt domes are being filled with tons of deicer. Last winter MTA personnel battled 10 storms, including five in the month of February alone.

The trucks that are used to plow snow are used throughout the year as regular maintenance vehicles but when winter comes around, most are fitted with snow plows. The fleet also includes 45 trucks that have special ground temperature sensors, which provide information about roadway conditions on entrance and exit ramps and other areas that are not covered by embedded roadway sensors.

Data collected by the truck's sensors tells the operator and bridge managers if the roadway is in danger of freezing and the operator then spreads additional deicer on the roadway.  

"The safety of our customers is a priority and we are always looking for the best equipment that will help keep the roads as clear as possible," said Chief Maintenance Officer Patrick Parisi.

The material used to melt snow and ice on roadways, often referred to as salt, is actually rock salt coated with an anti-corrosive additive that inhibits corrosion of structural steel on the bridges.

In addition to deicer and the high-tech trucks, roadway sensors are embedded directly in the decks of the bridges. These sensors help detect freezing conditions as they begin to happen and personnel are sent to deice the roadway before the snow and ice builds up.

Above-ground atmospheric sensors are also used to help gather real-time information on wind velocity, wind direction, humidity and precipitation via wireless communication. The small, rocket-like weather sensors are attached to light poles on the bridges, and although most motorists never notice them, these sensors are constantly recording data that helps determine if restrictions are necessary due to high winds.