I'm Going In Circles Trying To Find Out What A Special "Roundabout Snow Plow Truck" Looks Like

The Nearest Town With A Roundabout Is About 100 Miles From Me. It’s New And This Will Be Its First Winter (And We Get Severe Ones).

TV News Mentioned That The Place Had To Order A Special Plow Truck (Truck/Plow) For Clearing Snow From The Roundabout, As The Regular Highway Plows Weren’t Up To It.

I’m “Picturing” All These Different Things In My Head. I’m Curious.
What Are They Talking About? Please Help If You Can.
Thanks, CSA

I Forgot…
My low-tech no-tech PC won’t do videos, so if you’ve got a photo, I’d like that or even a good “word picture,” by explanation, would help satiate my curiosity.

Everything I’ve been able to find says it’s a myth. Perhaps your news man/woman fell for a “snow job”.

News anchors are pretty, but most of them aren’t too bright… and they often don’t check their facts. They’re just paid to be pretty and read the teleprompter. A few of the more famous ones have even been caught making up stories…

It’s not the truck…it’s the plow. A second blade is added on the far right to reach out into the arc missed by turning the truck. The blades I’m seeing are hinged up front near the normal plow blade and angle steeply backward.
If you get a chance to see video somewhere, look at Youtube and search '‘how to plow a roundabout.’'
Honestly, I think it’s more a matter of driver planning than any special equipment.

“A second blade is added on the far right to reach out into the arc missed by turning the truck.”

Thanks, Ken. Our area already has trucks with blades that extend to do 2 lanes at once, or a lane and shoulder, and they can hinge or angle back to miss obstructions or when nearing vehicles.

What happens when they throw deep snow into all the ingress and egress roads connected to the roundabout? That’s what I can’t picture. How are these things plowed when traffic is present?

At regular intersections around here, trucks spend some time going forward and backing up to clear the intersection and the 4 approaches. One can’t just throw snow into another roadway and drive on.

I guess I need video capability or go over and stake out that roundabout next bad storm.


Ken, your statement is correct; it’s driver training and not special equipment. All the state & municipal plows as well as all of the private contractors that have trucks large enough to do roads have the wing blades. They couldn’t clear the roads properly without them. The snow needs to be pushed well off to the sides. They’re standard equipment for road plowing around here.

We’ve got a round-about a few miles south of here but have never seen anything special. Of course most of the plow trucks have both the front and center mounted blades anyway for freeway use. We’re still green but not too many miles south got their first taste of about 10" of snow.

Wing blades can be raised along side the plow truck, and lowered as needed, The roundabout near us has to be a pain to plow, 4 lane road, approach is split into 2 single lanes separated by a curbed island, one lane to bypass the roundabout and go right, one lane to enter the roundabout., while there are 2 lanes around the roundabout itself. Glad my plowing days are probably over.

“One can’t just throw snow into another roadway and drive on.”

Wanna bet? When we get snow, the plow trucks dump snow into our driveways, which is similar. It isn’t usually a problem, but when we had 4 feet on the ground in 5 days, they plow boys dumped 5 feet on the driveways. Then the front loader came through and finished the job by dumping a pile of wet snow 8 feet deep on the sidewalks.

Oh yeah, you asked about plowing traffic circles. They will just plow out the streets that dumped snow into, just like the 4-way intersection you mentioned.

My guess, they just want to do it in one pass, rather than having to go around again. And its a reason to buy a new truck.

I don’t know why they’re suddenly putting in so many roundabouts. Personally I think they’re so dangerous that I took extra time years ago just to teach my daughter to drive on roundabouts. I have a hard time believing they actually make roads safer.

From what I have read, there may not be a reduction in accidents, but a reduction in the severity of accidents.

Minnesota has gone hog wild on them. The DOT is firmly pushing them as an accident reduction measure. I think the feds are pushing them too in their best practices manual. For sure they reduce spending a hundred thousand or so on stop lights. The scary part though is if you are on a highway you haven’t been on in a while zipping along in the dark and all of a sudden there is a round-about dead ahead. They do try to put warning signage up but still it can be a surprise. I guess I’m neutral at this point while I get used to them. One thing though when there are multiple exits, its kinda hard to know for sure which one is the one you want.

The last town I lived in had a roundabout in the town square combined WITH traffic lights. Locals had no issues but people that came in from out of town complained and would stop with a baffled look on their faces at the entry. The city I grew up in had a great big roundabout called the Traffic Circle that for 50 years was the hot-spot in the counties accident stats. The city removed it 10 years ago, and replaced it with traffic lights, problem solved.

Europe has roundabouts all over with and without stop signs or traffic signals. Only tourists seem to have issues. If the federal DOT has become enamored with them, well get a bunch put in and MAybe we will all get used to them. Or we’ll just spend the money to remove them again.

Roundabouts (traffic circles) are fine in LOW TRAFFIC VOLUME. Medium to high traffic volume and they become a nightmare to traverse. Pelham NH has put in 2 on the same road (rt 111a) less then 100 yards from each other. And they are in the planning stages to put another one it at the other end of that road.

MA is taking some down and adding others. They removed the one in Chelmsford at the junction of rt 3 and rt 4…Friend of mine is a cop in Chelmsford…said when they had the roundabout they were responding to over 300 accidents a year…it’s dwindled down to under 10 accidents a year.

Thee prime example of a very bad roundabout is Concord Ma at rt 2 and 2a. It’s a nightmare. During rush hour traffic is backed up for miles in all directions.

Airport road in Manchester has two right next to one another also.
Ten years from now, after they finally acknowledge that they don’t work and make life difficult in the winter, they’ll be back tearing them all up. Years ago they were putting the triangular islands at perpendicular intersections. Eventually they tore them all out.

Oh yea…I forgot about those…one is right in front of Executive sports.

In MD, the traffic circles are to slow traffic down without using traffic humps. The humps were supposed to damage snow plows. Now we have lots of traffic humps too.

Our roundabouts have pretty foliage inside the circle, along with tire tracks from vehicles going straight across the middle. I am sure afterwards the drive through drivers are like, "what just happened here?"
I don’t mind roundabouts, getting used to them, but there is a learning curve (curves?)

There have been quite a few studies that show they are safer in many situations. Merging into traffic at moderate speeds is a skill most people can manage quite easily. It’s clear that the traffic already in the rotary has right of way. If there are two or more high speed roads intersecting and grade separation isn’t possible, a rotary can work quite nicely and keep the traffic flowing better than signals. They do need to be big enough that drivers have room to merge into them easily. Some of the complex British ones with multiple connected loops look like they’d cause chaos, but they’re really pretty straightforward. Once you’ve merged into the traffic you just keep going around until you get to where you exit. The British ones have very good signs that make it easy. And if you miss your road just make another loop.

I’m not sold on the value of smaller ones in cities. For one thing, they are not great for pedestrians. To let people across there often have to be signals in the rotary, and then the advantages disappear. There were proposals here in San Francisco to install mini rotaries at some intersections, with bicyclists pushing hard for it. We have mostly four-way stops and the cyclists hate them. The city installed circles in a few places (just paint and reflectors) in some intersections as a pilot program, but drivers found them confusing and cyclists ended up nearly getting killed by drivers who didn’t cede right of way. The fire department also hated the idea and that was what mainly killed the project. I don’t know why we don’t just change more of those intersections to two-way stops on the streets designated as bike routes. There is a lot of pointless stopping and starting right now.