The Maryland Department of Transportation plans on utilizing new technology to tackle the issues presented by winter weather.
Almost 90 new laser road sensors will share information with MDOT during any given storm, the department said. The sensors can detect the thickness of water, snow, or ice within one millimeter of accuracy, while also reading road surface temperature, freeze point, and salt concentration.
The system will help MDOT prioritize where to send plows, focusing on roadways most in need of the help. A new salt brine mixture will also be sprayed on road surfaces, helping the salt stick instead of bouncing off or getting blown away. Drivers can recognize salt brine as the white streaks seen on the road before storms arrive. The agency has reduced the amount of salt used by 58 percent during the last four to five years, MDOT said.
Roughly 2,700 pieces of equipment are available to be put to use by MDOT during winter storms. For those who want to track that equipment, particularly the plows, a new web portal shows the real time location on a map of each vehicle.
Now that MDOT has geared up for potentially snowy commutes, the department asks drivers to do the same, making sure their cars are ready to tackle whatever the season my bring.