PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Starting Thursday afternoon, the salt trucks will be back out treating the roads.
Hopefully, we won’t see conditions like Tuesday morning’s ice that caused several crashes on Fallowfield Avenue in Pittsburgh.
There will likely be complaints and questions about whether some streets were treated or not.
However, there will be no question about it as the salt trucks will be getting GPS units to make them more efficient.
The idea is to make the trucks and drivers more efficient, but the side effect is that we will know through GPS tracking whether or not certain streets are treated.
Pittsburgh Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski got an earful from a woman at a meeting tonight. The woman’s car suffered $13,000 in damage from the cars that slid out of control on Fallowfield Avenue Tuesday.
She said that the road wasn’t treated, while Kaczorowski maintained that the road was indeed treated.
It turns out the residents were right.
Although a log said a salt truck treated the street in the morning, it really didn’t because the driver turned around to put chains on his tires.
Soon, that confusion will be eliminated as Pittsburgh salt trucks will have GPS units installed.
“So that drivers will have a tool in the cab itself instead of reading a paper sheet to make sure all the streets get done. He’ll have that GPS you have in your vehicle, I have in my vehicle, that tells him turn right here, turn left here and so forth,” Kaczorowski said.
It’s a growing trend around the country.
New York City is adding GPS units to its salt trucks after its latest battle with snow in December.
However, GPS units can also track everywhere the truck has been, how fast it’s been going and more, which has brought some protest from drivers.
“We had some people [think] we want to use it as a disciplinary tool. That’s not it at all. We’re trying to help the drivers and help ourselves,” Kaczorowski said.
It will also help settle disputes over where trucks have been and whether or not they’ve even been on a certain street.
Many residents like that idea.
“I think that would be a wonderful idea because that would give the proof that somebody was there where they wanted to be. I’m not saying they didn’t make the effort, but at seven o’clock, if you turn around and not finish the street, what good does that do us?” Gale Caracci said.
PennDOT already has GPS units in its salt trucks.
Pittsburgh has some units already installed and is just waiting to be synced up with a computer system.
They should be in operation in another month or so.