Twenty million tons of salt is spread by road crews throughout the country and is one of the principal tools that highway departments deploy to keep roads clear when the snow starts to fall.

However, that is not the only way a local department of transportation or state DOT uses to improve highway conditions. These departments use various driving equipment to ensure area transportation avenues are kept open.

Asphalt grinders, chippers, and line painters are just some of the heavy equipment departments need. This can also include a vast array of equipment transportation vehicles.

In the following article, we’ll discuss three ways that highway departments maintain seasonal highway conditions that you might now be aware of.

Who Has a Highway Department?

When discussing the jurisdiction of a highway department, it is almost easier first to define what they don’t maintain.

First of all, highway departments don’t remove ice and snow from private driveways or sidewalks. They don’t typically manage sanitation or recycling operations, both public and private. And they don’t conduct any work on utility poles, private waterways, or bridges.

You can determine what a highway department does maintain by what kind of public road you are considering. If the road is an interstate, a state highway department is responsible, same with state rural routes.

A county road is probably done by the local town or county department. Smaller still is the city, town, or village department. These local departments deal exclusively with maintaining roads in their town or city limits.

1. Winter Highway Conditions

The most iconic vehicle of a department of transportation is the massive Peterbilt or Freightliner truck. These trucks are made to withstand the harshest winter conditions.

You may see versions of these vehicles spreading salt, spraying brine, or removing snow with their 12 feet plows.

2. Road Maintenance

After the snow or cold weather recedes, highway departments across the country take stock of how to improve the communities’ roadways.

Erosion, floods, and heavy use are all reasons why a road may need maintenance. For much of the country, potholes and other destructive road conditions are caused by frost heaves.

These pavement destroyers form when moisture settles under the roadway and then freezes. When it freezes, the wet spot in the road expands, forcing the road and pavement to crack and crumble. Vehicle traffic will further acerbate the frost heave.

3. Emergency and Special Projects

Lastly, one of the most critical functions of highways departments is to react to emergencies. From flooding to violent storms, highway departments are often municipalities’ first line of defense. Highway departments work hand in hand with law enforcement and utility companies to get life back to normal when massive storms hit.

Need a Vehicle for a Big Job?

Highway conditions change throughout the year, so don’t get caught flat-footed. Instead, prepare for the worst and ensure your highway department has the equipment it needs to be effective.

It would be best if you didn’t hesitate to call a heavy equipment expert to find the right vehicle for your needs.

Contact us today if you are ready to buy or rent a vehicle for your town or business.