A 12-ton helping hand

Our "push truck" helps vehicles struggling or stopped on Snoqualmie Pass – which helps keep everyone moving

By Barbara LaBoe

Sometimes you simply desire a bit of additional nudge to get moving. It could be a determine rousting a baby out of bed within the morning, or the buddy who reminds you to now not stop on an vital long run aim like going once more to faculty or discovering a brand new career.

Or, within the case of our push truck on I-90 Snoqualmie Pass, it is a literal heavy-duty support – as in a 12-ton car pushing your car to help you regain traction or get you out of the road of traffic.

We created the frenzy truck in dwelling to meet a necessity crews stored seeing at the stream – automobiles both disabled or now not able to regain traction and therefore blocking visitors or even forcing stream closures. The push truck, which debuted in November, is designed to help quick clean roadways, both by pushing disabled automobiles off to the shoulder or giving a struggling car the additional support it wants to regain traction and bounce shifting again.

Watch our push truck in motion from previous this winter while it helped a semitruck up a steep incline

So why can we desire a push truck? Our major aim is to get the roadway cleared and get visitors shifting once doubtless after a crash or spin out. We understand nobody likes having their plans disrupted, rather in winter conditions, so we needed one other strategy to help keep away from long closures.

Most of the closures our crews see on Snoqualmie Pass – roughly 80 percentage – are because of unprepared motorists who both neglected posted velocity limits, did not chain up, drove on bald tires or tried to pressure by way of conditions they are simply now not ready to handle. The cease effects are spin outs and crashes or automobiles struggling to retain up the stream and slowing down or stalling others behind them. And all of them want assistance, typically a tow truck.

The push truck, that is housed at our Hyak upkeep facility, would now not update commercial tow trucks, however it could transfer automobiles out of the method till a tow arrives. It may also support get a struggling car shifting up the hill once more or support a tow truck in clearing the scene. This we could different tourists get once more on their method additional quickly. The push truck also potential we do now not should divert a grader from plowing to help in shifting heavy vehicles.
Left: We recycled a surplus plow for the push truck, adding an adjustable hydraulic bumper as well as tow cables and an onboard camera for the operator. Right: Our push truck can help move crashed vehicles off the roadway or, as in this picture, help a semitruck regain traction on a steep part of Snoqualmie Pass.

This is now not the primary time we now have now tried a push truck on Snoqualmie. A truck was donated a few years ago, however it ended up now not assembly our needs, especially for enormous semitrucks. Using an vintage plow for the brand new and enhanced push truck now not purely stored us money, it also ensured the car had sufficient push energy for steep inclines. By "recycling" a plow headed for surplus and utilizing salvaged components from different cars we now have now been capable to lay the rush truck into provider for just a bit much now not up to $15,000.

As section of its modifications, crews introduced a hydraulic, adjustable push bumper that the operator can transfer utilizing an onboard digital camera to assist line up with the car in need. It also has tow cables if a car desires to be pulled out of the method highly than pushed.

The result? The push truck at the west aspect of the cross labored so properly this winter we are already making plans so as to feature one other so we now have now one at the east aspect of the cross as well. It has been deployed 11 instances this winter (basically every time extreme climate is predicted) and assisted among 10 and 20 cars throughout every session. That's virtually 200 cars helped immediately and lots of further who were now not delayed. We're also sharing the effects in case different cross crews desire to believe it for his or her needs.

We direct much of time and instruments to preserving Snoqualmie Pass open within the winter. The push truck is now one other device in that device box, and that further nudge allows enhance security for equally our staff and all travelers.


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