Arizona snowplow operators lauded as ‘heroes of the highways’ after busy winter

Apr 6, 2023, 8:45 AM | Updated: 8:48 am

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photos)...

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photos)

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photos)

PHOENIX – Mother Nature kept Alice Scooper, Snowguaro and Frost Responder plenty busy this winter.

Those were the winning entries in last year’s Arizona Department of Transportation Name-A-Snowplow contest.

The contest was a fun way to highlight the agency’s fleet of around 200 snowplows, but it was all business for the snowplow operators whenever winter weather hit.

ADOT said its fleet logged 1.2 million miles while keeping roadways clear of snow and ice during the 2022-23 winter season, nearly doubling the previous season’s total.

“Our snowplow operators are heroes of the highways every winter, but it’s especially true over the past several months,” ADOT Director Jennifer Toth said in a press release Tuesday.

“I hope drivers truly appreciate the long hours they put in, along with first responders from other agencies, when record-setting winter storms strike.”

Flagstaff had its snowiest winter since 1979-80 with about 160 inches over the season, according to the National Weather Service. Further north, more than 220 inches of snow fell at the Grand Canyon North Rim, nearly 100 inches more than normal.

When large winter storms threatened the high country, ADOT prepared by bringing in trained snowplow operators from around the state, including metro Phoenix and Tucson. In total, the operators logged 66,000 hours on the road, more than double the previous season.

“Many people, especially those who don’t travel into the higher elevations, don’t realize all the work that goes into battling back from the punch Mother Nature delivers during winter storms,” Kevin Duby, ADOT’s statewide road weather manager, said in the release.

“It’s remarkable to see how our snowplow operators, often working 12-hour shifts, keep at it until the job is done.”

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Arizona snowplow operators lauded as ‘heroes of the highways’ after busy winter