SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY

UDOT snowplows get LED lights: “It’s going to look like Disneyland.”

Dec 23, 2019, 3:00 AM
snowplows wings LED...
LED lighting on the side of the "wings" are meant to help them be more visible to drivers, UDOT said. Photo: Mary Richards, KSL

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Almost every time it snows, someone runs into a snowplow. Now UDOT is testing a way they think could help people see those snowplows better.

They placed LED lighting in a strip along the edge of the “wing” or arm that extends out from the truck.

“If we get a big green LED light and orange color, it’s going to look like Disneyland. Maybe people will go to a happier place,” said Jake Brown, Cottonwood Canyons Operations Manager for the Utah Department of Transportation.

snowplows wing LED

Jake Brown, Cottonwood Canyons Operation Manager for UDOT, shows the LED lightning on his snowplows to reporters on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. Photo: Mary Richards, KSL

Brown says if people crash into the wings, it could really do some damage, and send them off the road. Many plows have a tall LED whip or stick, but trees and heavy snow can break those or snap them off.

“We want to bring attention to the wing, and let people know it’s there,” he said as he showed reporters his truck at UDOT’s Cottonwood Maintenance Shed. “During heavy snow days, I’ve pushed some heavy snow, and the whip on top has disappeared, but the lighting on the wing has not.”

Brown says you definitely can’t miss them in the dark.

The wing lights are being tested in a pilot program in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. If successful, they could go on every UDOT plow.

The next best chance for measurable precipitation in the Salt Lake Valley comes over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. UDOT says its drivers will be ready.

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UDOT snowplows get LED lights: “It’s going to look like Disneyland.”