Independence snow plows ready to hit the road with new tracking technology

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- There's a chill in the air, and it won't be long before we start seeing and driving in snow.

This season, the Public Works Department in Independence is introducing new technology to keep drivers safe and residents up to date.

Rick Arroyo, assistant director of public works, said there's now a tablet riding passenger inside all 22 city snow plows. It's new AVL technology, which stands for automatic vehicle location.

"That little orange image of a truck down there is actually this truck," Arroyo said.

The technology is designed to track where the trucks are going in any particular snow event.

"We can actually tell how much salt has been spread, where they've actually been and the time that they were there," Arroyo said.

Instead of thumbing through bulky old maps of the 1,200 lane miles in Independence, drivers can easily see where they've been and roads that still need plowing.

"With that efficiency it's not only safety, as well as efficiency, but that's going to relieve a lot of that lag time where they have to stop, take a look at these maps, and try to figure out where they're at," Arroyo said.

Soon, you won't have to wonder where the plow is either.

This technology offers an interactive map on the city's website showing the progress of the streets. Each is color-coded based on priority.

"And so rather than having to call in the middle of the night and figure out when somebody's going to come down their street," Arroyo explained, "they're going to be able to actually do that sitting at home in front of their computers."

The interactive map for the public is not yet up and running. They hope it will be ready to go following the first two snow events.

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