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ND DOT said it was 'ready' for the Colorado low, and the heavy snow

Oshkosh Snow Blower & Closed Interstate 94
Poppy Mills/NDDOT
Photo Lab
Oshkosh Snow Blower Truck clearing snow following a winter storm event that closed Interstate 94

The state Department of Transportation’s maintenance division director says DOT was prepared for last week’s snowstorm.

Brad Darr said his department was very aware of the National Weather Service forecasts for the Colorado low.

"They were very good in predicting this storm," Darr said.

Darr said in addition, DOT has a "value-added" meteorologist, that helps turn the weather into "road weather."

"The National Weather Service is good at what the weather is going to be," Darr said. "But we need to know how it's going to affect the roadways."

Darr said that meteorologist helps the operators know what the bext road treatments are.

Darr said the DOT has 351 snowplow operators, and each of the operators has a plow. However, because of staff shortages, illnesses and vacations, the DOT was down 47 operators — counting vacancies, illness or injury. He said that’s 13 percent of his crew — when normally, around 10 percent would be out.

"But being down 13 percent really didn't affect us," Darr said.

Darr said the storm wasn’t as bad in northwest North Dakota, where the staff shortage is most acute.

As for which roads get plowed first, Darr said there is a “hierarchy.”

"The Interstates and the four lanes are first," Darr said. "Then come the lower volume state-system roads."

All in all, Darr said it was a "normal" snowstorm.

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