RIDOT prepares for winter with 15 new plows

Gov. Gina Raimondo and the head of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, showcased the newest equipment purchased to remove snow for the season. (WJAR)

Gov. Gina Raimondo and the head of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation showcased the newest equipment purchased to remove snow for the season.

Raimondo announced the state purchased 15 plows, bringing the state fleet to 142 vehicles. The state also bought five trucks that will help remove salt from Rhode Island bridges. The governor said investing in maintenance will save money in the long run.

“Part of the reason we let our roads and bridges decay? They deteriorated. We weren't maintaining them (by) doing simple things like washing and painting bridges, repairing, maintaining,” Raimondo said Tuesday.

So far this season, the state has spent more than $20 million on equipment. State officials also announced that 60 workers have been hired over the past two years to help plow snow and maintain trucks.

The state also bought portable weather sensors to put in some of its trucks.

“This being Rhode Island it could be raining in Newport, and sleeting in Providence and blizzarding in Burrillville and it's important to be able to know exactly what are the weather conditions wherever these trucks are," Raimondo said.

As far as salt, Raimondo said there's plenty to go around. The state has 66,000 tons of salt on hand and has 10,000 tons of salt on reserve.

“When you need the salt, the salt has to be there,” Raimondo said.

Days after the first snowfall of the season, the director of RIDOT said the state is ready for whatever else Mother Nature throws its way.

“We don't necessarily look forward to this time of year each year but the people here in this building are packing the gear to be able to keep the roads safe,” Alviti said.

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