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Winter Weather Awareness Week kicks off with ribbon-cutting ceremony

WSBT 22

If you're enjoying this sunny day it won't stick around for long. Winter is just around the corner.

INDOT crews are already prepping for ice and snow just in time for Winter Weather Awareness week!

Leaders cut the ribbon on their newest operations facility in Plymouth. They say the new shop will help plow crews get to state roads faster.

"40 years ago we didn't use the type of equipment that we do today. With technology and the types of equipment that we use we have different facility needs,” said INDOT Commissioner, Joe McGuinness.

INDOT crews in Northern Indiana just got a serious upgrade.

"This facility is unlike anything that we have available to us right now, with the service bays and the wash bays and the ability for our men and women who are actually out there working on the roads and removing snow and putting down the salt to have an opportunity to use the facility like this is great,” said McGuinness.

"I got a tour about three weeks ago of the facility and I was just blown away by it,” said Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter. "Michigan Road is also State Road 17 coming right through Plymouth and they'll be a lot closer now than they ever were before."

The facility is at the junction of three U.S. highways. INDOT and local leaders say roads should get cleared a lot faster.

"I don't know how it couldn't be that way,” Senter said.

But right now, the roads are dry. INDOT is still in preparation mode-- that means tuning up a lot of trucks.

"It's over 1,000. Probably closer to about 1,200 trucks across the state of Indiana. Tons of salt, about 225,000 tons of salt that we have on hand and all six of our districts combined. This location here, this facility here will hold about 70 to 7,200 tons of salt which with another mild winter will get it through the Winter,” said McGuinness.

He says it's hard to predict exactly how bad the Winters will be. If things get hairy this Winter, he says the facility will be able to bring in more salt and brine to keep the roads clear.

"We prepare for the worst and of course hope for the best,” McGuiness said.

He says the new facility allows plow truck drivers to load and unload their trucks inside. That means they'll be able to turn around and get back on the road faster.

McGuinness says that, combined with how close the facility is to three major highways, means roads will get attention more quickly.

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