Winner Dairy Queen won, “Name the Snowplow” contest

Submitted Photo
The Winner Dairy Queen won the named the snowplow contest for the Pierre region
of the South Dakota Department of Transportation. Walter the Salter is the name
the local Dairy Queen gave to the plow. Pictured from left are Carmen Hansen,
store manager; Jenna Underhill, store employee; Phil Kahler, driver of truck No.
DT407 which is now known as -Walter the Salter, Doug Sherman, Winner area
DOT engineer and Gregg Ulmer, Unit 392 supervisor.

Winner Dairy Queen won the name the snow plow contest for the Pierre region of the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

The local DQ named the plow Walter the Salter.

A presentation was made recently at the Dairy Queen in Winner.

Facts and info supplied by the DOT include:

SDDOT Snowplow Contest Facts:

821 entries were submitted across the state.

Plow name submissions were voted upon by all staff for each of the 12 SDDOT Areas.

We had great participation in every SDDOT Area with one winner being 80 “plus” and we have a couple youth winners aged 10 – 11.

We had submissions from elementary classrooms, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and businesses who all held contests or did class projects to pick a name for submission. 

We also had great contributions from individuals and families.

SDDOT basics and quotes:

We created the SDDOT Name the Snowplow Contest as a way to engage with our customers in a fun way. Through the contest, we had the opportunity to share key safety messages about winter safety, the work of our snowplow operators and our innovative technology with designed to give drivers the latest information.

“Safety on our roadways is our number one priority,” says Interim Transportation Secretary Joel Jundt. “Whether people are traveling during a winter snow event or the height of road construction season, access to real-time road conditions is crucial.”    

“After almost every winter event, I hear reports from our plow operators about close calls and distracted drivers. This happens everywhere, on our interstates in the southern portion of the state where traffic is higher, and on our lower volume roads in the norther portion of the state,” says Jason Humphrey, Pierre Region Engineer. “We encouraged people to engage with the SDDOT, have some fun naming our plows, and ultimately help bring awareness to our plow operators who work hard every day to create a safe driving environment for our citizens.”

To help motorists plan for safe travel, SDDOT has long offered free, up-to-date road camera images and information on road and weather conditions, road closures, construction work zones, commercial vehicle restrictions, and traffic incidents by phone, web page, and a mobile app. Our SDDOT snowplow operators put in very long days and take to heart the responsibility of getting everyone home safely. This responsibility not only includes plowing the roads, but also keeping motorists informed through

“Seeing such a positive response to this contest shows the level of interest the public shares in keeping our roads safe,” says Doug Sherman, Winner Area Engineer. “Naming the plows personalizes our efforts, enhancing that relationship between the SDDOT and the public we serve.”

“We truly appreciate the response across the state with this outreach program,” says Gregg Ulmer, Winner Area Highway Maintenance Supervisor. “The participation by people of all ages helps us to further build relationships in our communities. The opportunity to share what we do and how we do it, is tremendous.”

Information provided by Tyler Green/SDDOT Equipment Manager

(Division of Operations Support)

Snowplow Facts:

How many plows are in each of our Regions?

There are approximately 107 plows per Region.

There is a total of 428 trucks and 23 tow plows spread across the state.

Average weight/height of a snowplow?

The average snowplow weighs around 58,000 lbs. and is 11’6” tall.

The average Tow plow/ truck unit weighs around 88,000 fully loaded.

Avg. mile per gallon for fuel?

The Plows average about 3.5 to 4 mpg and run on low sulfur diesel/biodiesel blend.

How big is the engine in a plow?

Our plows run a 450hp Detroit engine, tow plows run a 505hp Detroit engine

How much snow does the average plow “push” in its lifetime?

(In other words – what is the average longevity for a plow?)

The average lifespan of a plow truck is 15 years.

SD511 (the latest in innovation for weather/road information)

Our Plow Trucks are in essence a rolling computer, with highly technical salt and chemical rate application systems, currently 120 units have an onboard Data collector called an MDC (mobile data collector) this gives the operator the ability to relay real-time road conditions to our web based system and get salt and chemical rate suggestions back almost immediately, keeping us productive, efficient and fiscally responsible.

“Our Operators and Highway Maintenance Supervisors are responsible for keeping the SD 511 app up to date,” says Tyler Green, SDDOT Equipment Manager. “They take great pride in the level of service they provide . . .  keeping 511 updated with the ever-changing weather and road conditions; and most importantly keeping our South Dakota travelers safe and informed.”

The mission of the South Dakota Department of Transportation is to efficiently provide a safe and effective public transportation system.

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