With the possibility of snow and frigid temperatures in the forecast starting Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 7, Missouri Department of Transportation crews are prepared for the return of harsh winter weather to southwest Missouri.

Crews are watching weather forecasts and are standing by for the forecasted inclement weather.  Snow plows are ready and loaded with salt in preparation to clear area roadways of ice and snow if necessary.

MoDOT prioritizes its plowing operations by focusing on clearing major roadways like I-44, I-49, Route 60, Route 65 and Route 249 as quickly as possible.  Crews will work ‘round the clock until the major roads are back to normal condition following a winter storm.  As time allows and when major routes become clear to mostly clear, crews will plow lesser traveled roadways, treating hills, curves and intersections with ice/snow removal chemicals.

Here’s a look at MoDOT’s Southwest District snow-clearing operations by the numbers:

• More than 300 pieces of snow-clearing equipment, including 295 snow plows

• More than 590 fulltime snowplow operators. along with more than 50 emergency snowplow operators

• 31,000 tons of salt disbursed among 28 maintenance facilities (Average annual salt use is 17,600 tons of salt.)

• $3.5 million spent on snow-clearing operations last year

During winter storms, drivers are urged to slow down, buckle up and give plows room to work.  Drivers can visit MoDOT’s Winter Travel Page which includes valuable information about winter travel along with a link to MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map. Road conditions on the map are updated ‘round the clock during winter storms until major roadways are returned to clear or mostly clear condition.