Winter Operations 2012

The Muskegon County Road Commission is urging motorists to remember good driving habits in winter weather conditions that will make the roadways safer.  Our road crews put their lives on the line daily to keep the roads in Muskegon County safe and open to commerce.  We will continue to do our part to keep the roads cleared, but motorists must remember to drive with caution no matter how much salt we use or how often the roads area plowed.  Just as our snow plow drivers are preparing for winter conditions, motorist should be getting ready too.  MCRC is encouraging motorists to monitor the weather and when a MCRC truck is seen on the road doing their job, give them plenty of space

The Muskegon County Road Commission is responsible for maintaining over 1,400 miles of roads that include the state highways (expressways).  Road crews must have ample room in order to safely clear the many miles of roadway of snow and ice.  A steady decrease in road funding and an increase in costs have caused the Road Commission to plow the same miles of road with fewer employees.  With that said, many of the Road Commission trucks are now supplied with snow wings that will allow plowing services to be completed more quickly in some areas.  The large trucks are hard enough to maneuver through traffic and with the snow wing attached, it becomes even more challenging.

The snow and ice removal plan is the same as last winter season and our drivers will follow the same procedure as last year.  The plan is setup as a priority system meaning that state expressways like US31, BU31 and I96 will get immediate attention as weather mandates.  The M-routes such as M46, M37 and M120 will be serviced with a goal of providing a pavement surface that is free from drifts, snow ridges and as much ice and snow pack as practical.  The Road Commission is under contract with MDOT to follow these mandates.  Primary roads are the priority on the County system with local roads and sub division roads following.  On the county system, Road Commission drivers will be called out after hours and on weekends if 4 inches of snow have fallen and/or if there is a continuous storm.  For slippery conditions after hours or on weekends sanding crews will be dispatched as appropriate.

Every year, despite the flashing lights, poor driver behavior around snowplows leads to near misses or collisions.  To minimize these dangers, motorists must keep their focus on driving and changes in road conditions.

The Muskegon County Road Commission offers the following reminders to motorists:

  • • Snow plows have limited visibility and drivers cannot see directly behind their trucks;
  • • Snow plows often throw up snow clouds, reducing visibility on all sides of the truck;
  • • Snow plows need to clear the middle of roadways, often hugging the centerlines;
  • • Motorists should never attempt to pass a moving snow plow on the right; especially now that they are equipped with wings;
  • • Always wear your seat belt and allow extra time to reach your destinations this winter.

Winter safety takes everybody’s help!  Help prevent other hazardous conditions by not plowing excess snow from driveways across the road, by not piling snow high near intersections, by not placing items in the right of way such as parked vehicles and instructing your children to not play near the road or throw snowballs at moving traffic.

Muskegon County Road Commission is ready to do everything we can to make winter travel as safe as possible, and we are asking drivers to do their part and be prepared for the challenges of winter driving.