Dane County to expand snow-plowing operations

County roads M, Q, PD among roads to get 24-hour plowing
Dane County to expand snow-plowing operations
Snow plow rodeo

As the population in Dane County continues to grow, the amount of roads that will receive 24-hour plowing attention this winter grows with it.

County officials said they will be adding 46 miles of county roads to the 24-hour routes. Those roads include large and heavily traveled stretches of county roads M, Q and PD.

“What we find is as the community grows, county roads which used to be more rural end up being either right in urban areas or linking various urban areas,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said.

The added 46 miles of road to be plowed 24 hours a day during snowy conditions impacts the county budget, but also increases public safety.

“The very fundamental job of government is public safety and it doesn’t get much more basic than plowing the roads,” Parisi said.

The added hours of plowing county roads also reflects the changing traffic patterns the county is seeing.

“We just see more traffic, and we’ve also seen where Madison is changing from a night-and-day city to more of a 24-hour city. So we’re seeing traffic on those roads at different parts of the day as well,” said Jerry Mandli, director of Dane County Public Works, Highways and Transportation.

In addition to expanding the number of miles plowed in the county 24 hours a day as needed, the fleet of snowplows is being improved. The county has added two new plows powered by compressed natural gas.

“It is a big benefit both to the environment and to our pocketbook. Right now CNG costs the equivalent of a buck and a half a gallon so even with low gas prices at about three bucks a gallon, we’re still saving a buck fifty a gallon,” Parisi said.

The county has plans to add 13 more CNG-powered snowplows to the fleet next year to replace older snowplows.