2010-12-17 / Community

MTA Bridges And Tunnels Gears Up For Winter

MTA Bridges and Tunnels snow plow in action at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. MTA Bridges and Tunnels snow plow in action at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. With winter looming, MTA Bridges and Tunnels employees are working hard to make sure all snow and icefighting equipment is ready to go, including storing 8,000 tons of deicer and preparing its fleet of 102 trucks.

Snow plows are being fitted onto regular maintenance trucks and salt domes are being filled with tons of deicer. Last winter MTA Operations and Maintenance personnel battled 10 storms, including five in the month of February alone.

The fleet of regular maintenance trucks that are turned into snow plows during winter months includes some 45 trucks equipped with ground temperature sensors. The sensors provide data about conditions on entrance and exit ramps and other areas that are not covered by embedded roadway sensors.

“The safety of our customers is our top priority and we are always looking for the best equipment that will help keep the roads as clear as possible,” said Chief Maintenance Officer Patrick Parisi.

The ground temperature sensors on the trucks tell the operator and bridge managers if the roadway is in danger of freezing. The operator then spreads additional deicer where it is needed; making sure an even application is applied.

The material used to melt snow and ice on MTA bridge roadways is sometimes referred to as salt but is actually rock salt coated with an anti-corrosive additive that inhibits corrosion of structural steel on the agency’s bridges.

Embedded roadway sensors and wind sensors on the bridges also help Operations personnel battle winter storms. The roadway sensors detect freezing conditions as they begin to occur and personnel are sent to deice the roadway deck before ice and snow begin to build up.

The MTA’s seven bridges also are equipped with above-ground atmospheric sensors that deliver real-time information on wind velocity, wind direction, humidity and precipitation via wireless communication. The small, rocket-like weather sensors attached to light poles often go unnoticed by motorists as they cross the spans, yet the sensors are constantly recording data which is used to determine if speed restrictions are necessary.

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