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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues

Photo Series: Winter Road Maintenance in Little Cottonwood Canyon

As most of us living through Utah winters know, salt is used on roads and walkways all the time to prevent them from freezing over.
A+UDOT+snowplow%2C+operated+by+Dyllan+Rich%2C+plows+the+snow+and+spreads+salt+on+the+road+at+Alta%2C+Utah+on+Feb.+2%2C+2024.+%28Photo+by+Marco+Lozzi+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Marco Lozzi
A UDOT snowplow, operated by Dyllan Rich, plows the snow and spreads salt on the road at Alta, Utah on Feb. 2, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

Do you ever wake up the morning after a snowstorm, excited to go shred some powder at one of the world-class ski resorts in our canyons? Technological advancements are the only reason we can get to the powder en masse — and I’m not talking about ski lifts. This month, I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet the people who work at UDOT station 2433 and document the work they do to keep the Cottonwood Canyons safe and accessible.

Driving up to the station at four in the morning, I met Shawn Wright, station 2433 supervisor, and Dyllan Rich, a transportation technician. The next person they introduced me to was less of a person, and more of a big, orange beast of a snowplow. Now this isn’t just your average snowplow: these are heavily modified Mack Granite trucks that are specifically tailored to get the job done. They have 13-liter diesel engines that produce 1860 pound-feet of torque to propel the beasts up the canyons, powerful LED headlights and fog lights to see in snow squall conditions and enormous head and wing plows to push massive amounts of snow. Other very important features that these trucks have are a salt spreading system and a truck bed that can hold thousands of pounds of said salt. When these trucks are at full capacity, they can weigh over 90,000 pounds, or as much as 30 Honda Civics stacked on top of each other.

The salt that UDOT uses isn’t your typical table salt either. As most of us living through Utah winters know, salt is used on roads and walkways all the time to prevent them from freezing over. However, in some conditions, plain salt isn’t enough to keep cars from losing traction on the steep inclines and twisty turns of the canyons. To have salt last longer on the roads and increase friction between tires and the road, UDOT uses a mixture of salt and clay, which the technicians call “red salt.” This is the substance that is poured into the beds of the snowplows and spread behind them as they drive up and down the canyons, using a rotary spreader disk similar to those used for fertilizer.

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About the Contributor
Marco Lozzi, Photographer
Born in Texas and raised by Italian parents, Marco Lozzi grew up with two vastly different cultures. Now a sophomore at the U, he is majoring in communication with a journalism emphasis while also minoring in photography and Italian. He joined the Chrony to gain experience working as a photojournalist for a larger entity. When he's not taking or editing photos, he can be found hitting the slopes, napping, or making pasta.

Comments (2)

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  • E

    EvieMar 28, 2024 at 6:26 pm

    It is absolutely amazing what these Men do to keep our roads safe for Us. A lot of people don’t realize what it takes to operate that big equipment! Please give them the room they need! Be courteous!

    Reply
  • J

    John HedbergMar 19, 2024 at 8:16 am

    Interesting insight into something a lot of us take for granted. Some really nice photos, too-

    Reply