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Leggett Previews County’s Preparedness to Handle Winter Storms

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 29, 2018

Today, County Executive Ike Leggett discussed the County’s readiness for the 2018-2019 winter storm season at the County’s annual Snow Summit, which this year was held at the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Gaithersburg Depot. The Gaithersburg Depot has the largest salt barn east of the Mississippi River. Joining Leggett were MCDOT Director Al Roshdieh and MCDOT Highway Services Division Chief Richard Dorsey.


“Over the past 12 years, we experienced 202 snow, ice, wind and rain events that amounted to a total of more than 366 inches of precipitation,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “During my tenure, we upgraded our storm operations to become more cost-effective, more systematic, and more efficient. Given these preparations, and the determination of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, we are ready for whatever Mother Nature offers.”


The following are a few of the innovations that occurred under Leggett’s watch:


  • Increased funding levels for storm response.

  • Prioritizing snow removal from emergency and essential routes that include senior centers, schools, fire stations, hospitals, police stations and bus routes.

  • Stationing a snow plow at every fire battalion to ensure emergency vehicles can get to residents.

  • Removing snow from more than 60 miles of Montgomery County-owned sidewalks.

  • Clearing three miles of bike paths and trails.

  • Developing an enhanced website – the Snow Portal.

  • Bringing operations into the 21st century by transforming them from a paper-based system to an electronic one with fully automated navigation systems.

  • Building the largest snow barn in the east.


This year, MCDOT is introducing two changes to its operations to make them more environmentally-friendly:

  • First, doubling the use of salt brine to expand treatment to primary neighborhood roadways. Salt brine is a mix of 80 percent water and only 20 percent salt. It’s use before a storm can significantly reduce the amount of salt it takes to clear roads afterwards.

  • Second, MCDOT will be experimenting with using rubber-tipped blades on snow plows. Metal-tipped blades damage the roadway if they are used before there is three inches of snow on the ground. Rubber-tipped blades may allow trucks to begin plowing sooner, without using salt.


MCDOT has seven regional depots that are responsible for clearing snow along 220 different plow routes on more than 5,200 lane miles of County roads. MCDOT has 175 pieces of equipment and 200 staff dedicated to snow removal, with the ability to bring in hundreds of contractors and pieces of equipment, depending on a storm’s severity. The Maryland State Highway Administration clears all numbered, state roads in the County.


“Over the past 12 years, Mr. Leggett has attended every Snow Summit because he recognizes how important snow removal is to our County’s economy and the safety of our residents and businesses,” said Roshdieh. “His focus on snow preparedness sends a powerful message to all of us about the importance he places on what we do here in MCDOT. And, we wouldn’t be able to provide outstanding service without the dedication and commitment of the staff and contractors who work during winter weather events. When it snows, our snowplow operators, mechanics and engineers work round-the-clock shifts until the roads are cleared.”


“MCDOT is a great place to work and an organization that supports and encourages its staff,” said Dorsey. “I’m a prime example. I started with the County about 30 years ago as an equipment operator. As I rose through the ranks of Highway Services, County Executive Leggett was consistently there – first on the County Council – and then as County Executive -- as one of our strongest advocates for getting what we need to respond to storms. He truly understands the importance to the public of getting snow removal right – and the importance of maintaining our basic infrastructure and keeping our roads and neighborhoods in great shape. I’d like to thank Mr. Leggett for his tremendous support over the years.”


More information about snow removal is available online.



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Release ID: 18-722
Media Contact: Esther Bowring 240-777-7170