The Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) 1,500 snowplow trucks will be on the road Thursday morning as part of the agency’s annual statewide winter weather drill.

MoDOT snowplow (file photo courtesy of MoDOT)

MoDOT Central District Maintenance Engineer Jason Shafer says employees will be reacting to a simulated forecast of significant snow for the entire state.

“The way we’re (MoDOT) approaching this is this drill is to make sure our equipment is functioning, make sure that our personnel is prepared because, let’s face it, it’s been a long time since last winter,” Shafer says.

The drill will test MoDOT’s battle plan to ensure its readiness to get drivers back on Missouri roads as quickly as possible after snowstorms.

You will notice numerous MoDOT snowplows on Missouri roads, during the drill. More than 3,200 MoDOT employees and 1,500 trucks will be involved.

Shafer says emergency communication systems will also be tested.

“It is very crucial,” says Shafer. “In fact, we’ve got some areas in the state where the radios that we have in our trucks don’t even, there’s too many hills in between for the trucks to even be able to talk to each other.”

MoDOT crews will begin deploying at mid-morning and the drill is expected to end by mid-afternoon Thursday.

The agency’s emergency operations centers will also activate today.

MoDOT spends $45 million annually on snow removal. Every MoDOT maintenance employee completes an annual training that serves as a refresher course for plowing snow.

Click here to listen to the full five-minute interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and MoDOT’s Jason Shafer, which was recorded on November 1, 2017: