Montana Department of Transportation

TowPlows - One Driver, Twice As Much Snow

What is a TowPlow?

Snowplow pulling a tow-plow

The TowPlow is a steerable trailer-mounted plow that is pulled behind a snowplow truck, just like the name indicates. The TowPlow can be rotated to one side of the truck, which doubles the plow width of a tandem-axle snowplow truck. The 26-foot-wide plow gives the operator the ability to move snow efficiently and safely from two lanes of roadway in one pass.

The TowPlows are equipped with either a granular spreader or a tank for dispensing liquids for snow and ice control. TowPlows have been used successfully in other states for several years, but many Montana drivers have never seen one in action.

Benefits

  • Increased efficiency
  • Doing more with less - With one driver clearing twice as much road, there is a reduction in manpower and equipment.
  • Safety improvements due to improved snow-removal times
  • Environmental and financial benefits from using less fuel

The efficiency of clearing double the lanes with half the resources is increasingly important as Montana’s highway system expands. Currently there is one TowPlow operating in the Helena area with more planned for the Bozeman, Miles City, Missoula, and Great Falls areas by Fall 2014.

Safety Tips

  • Slow down and stay behind the snowplow. Allow at least five car lengths between the vehicle and the snowplow.
  • Periodically, the plow operator will pull to the side of the road, retract the plow wing, or rotate the TowPlow out of the way and allow vehicles to pass. Just remember, the road behind the plow will be the safest place to drive.
  • Be particularly aware of icy conditions on surfaces such as bridge decks and entrance and exit ramps.
  • Turn on headlights and turn off cruise control settings.

Videos - TowPlow in Action

Photos

whole plow truck and snow plow Controls inside the plow truck View from back of tow-plow Tow-plow swung out sideview of tow-plow closeup sideview of tow-plow closeup of the towplow plow Closeup view from back of towplow swung out to side back of towplow back of towplow