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Snow may not be here yet, but the state gears up for the worst with new ‘tow plows’

In most other winters, there would have been snow around when the state Department of Transportation showed off its newest snowplow equipment.

There may not have been snow to plow Tuesday, but the DOT brought one of its new “tow plows” to Evangola State Park, anyway – to emphasize preparedness in case the rest of the winter follows the usual weather pattern.

The tow plows attach as trailers to the back of the large dump trucks traditionally used as snowplows. The tow plow can be hydraulically adjusted to swing out to the side of the truck, doubling the plow width and giving operators the ability to simultaneously clear two travel lanes at once.

State officials said the tow plow offers a greater range of motion and better operator control than standard wing plows.

“The addition of these tow plows will mean a safer New York State for motorists who are out and about during the winter weather, said DOT Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll.

The plows will be deployed in every region of the state, with an emphasis on areas that are typically hit the hardest by harsh winter conditions. Look for them on Routes 219 and 400 and Interstate 86.

The state bought 62 of the tow plows. While they will be stationed in every region of the state, the strategic placement and training of qualified operators means the DOT will be able to shift resources across the state in response to shifting winter conditions.

The tow plow, used in combination with a 12-foot front-mounted plow, helps clear 24 feet of road at once. Two cameras assist operators and reduce blind spots. For the safety of other vehicles on the road, tow plows have a rear lighting package that mimics the lights of the truck body.

The tow plows will allow one plow truck operator to clear two lanes with one pass of the truck, providing more clear travel lanes for motorists. It also takes the same amount of fuel to plow two travel lanes with a tow plow as it does to plow one lane with a traditional plow.