New snowplows ready to hit Calgary’s Deerfoot Trail: ‘Everybody wins’

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WATCH: The company that maintains Calgary’s busy Deerfoot Trail says new equipment will improve conditions for drivers during snowstorms this winter. Gil Tucker reports.

The company that maintains Calgary’s Deerfoot Trail for the Alberta government is tackling winter conditions with some new snow-clearing equipment.

Carmacks Maintenance Services was displaying some of its newly arrived equipment on Thursday during a tour for Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver.

The company will be using two “tow plows” on Deerfoot Trail, which involves a snowplow towing a trailer that deploys a snow-clearing blade.

READ MORE: Calgary’s Deerfoot Trail reopened after 5-hour shutdown due to dangerous road conditions, collisions

That blade can clear an extra lane of traffic, sometimes two, while the snowplow clears its lane.

Carmacks has been using “tow plows” on Calgary’s Stoney Trail for the past decade but this year marks their first appearance on Deerfoot Trail.

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The company said it is quicker and more efficient than using separate plows, especially when two go out alongside each other — one trailing the other slightly — in what’s called echelon formation.

READ MORE: Alberta drivers warned about the dangers of passing snowplows on highways

“If we do echelon plowing, you can expect some delays because there’s going to be nobody going by the trucks when they are in an echelon formation,” said Phillip Mendive, Carmacks operations manager.

“It is a slight delay at the time, but essentially there should be [fewer] accidents behind if everybody is travelling reasonably and they have better roads to drive on.”

“This vehicle that cleans almost three lanes at once is about half the price of three separate vehicles,” McIver said. “So that’s more value for the taxpayers, a better deal for the government and it occurs to me that everybody wins.”

Carmacks will also be using another new snow-clearing technique on Deerfoot Trail this winter.

It has taken delivery of a high-speed tractor, equipped with a front plow, which is also capable of being deployed as a “tow-plow.”