Night shift in the fight against the snow

Night shift in the fight against the snow

The weather forecasts sounded alarming: snowfall with minus temperatures was forecast. The two tramway maintenance workers on duty at the geiselwind freeway maintenance center prepare for a busy evening. Route control is now the order of the day. A man drives off in a minibus and checks the road conditions, especially on the slopes.

In the meantime, the colleague monitors the road condition and weather reports in the office, as well as the ice detection systems, which provide information about the road temperatures. Everything points to the first winter service assignment this season. The men decide in the late afternoon: they move out with the space vehicles ready for takeoff. One vehicle drives in the direction of the steigerwald, the other as far as the biebelrieder intersection. A sophisticated system ensures that the entire service area is strewn within one to two hours.

Highway patrol reports first accidents

But the snowfall is getting heavier. The freeway police report the first obstructions and accidents. The one spacecraft enters a traffic jam shortly before the final field. An accident – at a walking pace. The truck drives in the middle of the road and spreads "wide". Thus, no one can overtake and both lanes are salted. But the snowfall becomes heavier, the roadways are now covered with snow.

On the opposite lane, an ambulance fights its way through the center lane. The blue light mixes with the yellow flashes of the gritting truck. The driver must also use the plow. A five-meter wide blade pushes the snow to the side, and at the same time the cleared lane is salted with the gritting equipment at the rear of the vehicle.

"As much salt as necessary, as little as possible" – that is the basic principle of winter road maintenance, as the head of the freeway maintenance department in geiselwind pascal dorsch explains.

All vehicles are equipped with wet salt spreaders. With the help of a new technology, brine spreading, salt consumption can be reduced by 30 percent. Each driver has a computer in the cab that controls the spreading width and quantity, as well as the mixing ratio.

In the meantime it steams. Traffic is getting slower and denser. Only muhselig the space vehicles come further. Now the alarm plan takes effect: at any time of the day or night, another team with two men is on standby at home. They are alarmed. In addition, karl brunner, who can be called upon this week for special incidents, is the operations manager. A short time later, the two drivers arrive and are briefed by brunner. Their vehicles are also ready for departure and loaded in garages, so that they can go immediately.

An accident is reported by radio

Another emergency vehicle reports an accident near wiesentheid by radio. This will result in a full lockout. Brunner now has to organize things differently and sends a vehicle to the wiesentheid junction, where it rejoins the autobahn after the accident site. A dense blanket of snow has formed there due to the low traffic caused by the accident, and must be cleared away.

The incident commander realizes that he has to resort to a tougher measure: from his free time, another employee is called to the freeway maintenance department. At the same time, master mechanic rudolf enzbrenner is brought in to convert a crane truck into a clearing and gritting vehicle.

Despite the high demands, darkness and freezing cold, everything goes hand in hand. In less than an hour, enzbrenner and brunner have produced another clearing and gritting vehicle.

In the meantime, michael schmitt, the next driver, has also arrived at the freeway maintenance office. He fought his way to his office along side roads. The highway is closed. The "capo" gives him a precise briefing: schmitt is also to clear the entrances and exits at the various connection points. Centimeter work with the wide space shield. And schmitt weib: it will probably be a long night tonight.

The police’s balance sheet the next day: the number of accidents remained in the lower range. There were no serious accidents. So-called "megastaus" were not registered.

Conclusion: the freeway maintenance staff have done a great job – they will be called upon a few more times this winter.

The geiselwind freeway maintenance depot (AM) is one of 18 freeway maintenance depots of the freeway directorate of northern bavaria/nurnberg. It works in cooperation with the autobahnmeisterei kist. The AM geiselwind has 21 tram attendants, who have six trucks, a unimog and a transport vehicle at their disposal.

A truck can carry up to ten tons of salt/brine, which gives it a range of about 60 kilometers for spreading. Then it must be refilled. For this purpose, salt depots are available in geiselwind, near biebelried and near pommersfelden. The winter service is supported by three seasonal workers from october to march. Here they work in three shifts around the clock. Two men directly on duty and two men as mobile reserves.

The area of responsibility of AM geiselwind is from the biebelrieder kreuz on the A 3 to hochstadt-ost, which corresponds to a stretch of two times 60 kilometers. In addition, all parking lots as well as two rest areas (haidt and steigerwald) are to be attended to.

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