VTrans has high hopes for 'Salt Saver' plows

NEW HAVEN, Vt. (WCAX) VTrans is investing in new snow plow technology it says could help keep the roads clearer as well as saving time and money.

It may look like a normal VTrans plow, but it's the favorite at the New Haven district office according to Kevin Lawrence, the acting general foreman. "A regular twist and shoot wouldn't have this on it," he said, pointing to a secondary part behind the plow blade.

Reporter Cat Viglienzoni: these are the teeth you say can adjust?
Kevin Lawrence: These can go up and down as you can see.

The adjustable teeth can get into grooves on the roads to better clear out packed snow. "It's called the Salt Saver," Lawrence said.

That's because he says by scraping more of the snow off, it allows them to use less salt. He estimates that depending on the storm, they could save up to 100 pounds of salt per lane-mile. "They're definitely cost-effective," Lawrence said.

The add-on costs $3,500. Lawrence says the teeth have to be replaced each year or so, much like a regular plow blade. But the extra bucks are worth it, he says, not just for the savings on salt. He says it also saves them manpower. This plow can do the work of two. Before, they would have had to have a grader come and scrape packed snow up after a regular plow came through. "We've probably saved basically anywhere from an hour to two hours if we had to peel pack off," he said.

District 5 has three of these plows already -- two in New Haven and one down in Middlebury -- and they say if they had their way, they'd have even more of them. "My end goal would be to get one for every route," Lawrence said. He says drivers will notice better-cleared roads that open up faster. "Our endgame is to make the public happy and make the road more safe from point A to point B."

VTrans says there are a dozen of these plows out on state roads this winter.