CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway say they’re prepared for winter weather to hit.
The Illinois Tollway system has increased its plow and salt spreader fleet to 196 trucks this season, as they’ll have more mileage to cover with the completion of the next section of Illinois Route 390. In all, tollway system trucks will cover 294 lane miles this winter.
Furthermore, according to chief engineering officer Paul Kovacs, the toll system will be getting additional information about the roads from sensors that bounce lasers off the road.
“They will help us measure pavement temperatures, and they also help us understand what the moisture condition is out on the road,” he said. “Any information that we can get to help us fine-tune how we’re going to treat the road will help us do it more effectively, and ultimately result in a ice-free pavement and a safer driving surface for everyone.”
The lasers are currently set up at 20 locations on the tollway system.
Kovacs says the laser sensors will allow the tollway system to be more cost-efficient with toll money by putting down only enough salt to do the job, and not putting any down when conditions would not allow the salt to be effective.
The tollway has 80,000 tons of salt on hand to start the winter season, which officially begins on Thursday, Dec. 21.