Winter road maintenance is an important task for municipal companies. Given the unstable weather conditions in recent years and the unpredictability of temperatures and precipitation, winter maintenance operators face a difficult task each season. RASCO always strives to be one...
- Lahorka Lojen
Croatian Motorways – from wide and flat Slavonia, mountainous Gorski Kotar to seaside Dalmatia – are maintained using 260 vehicles with RASCO equipment
Winter in the northern hemisphere can often mean difficult conditions for highway travelers. Low temperatures, snow, and ice make driving safety almost impossible without highway winter service operators. Today, they use road monitoring systems to decide when to deploy vehicles equipped with high-tech machines for spreading and snow clearing, as well as perform additional activities that ensure maximum safety for all road users.
We asked Mr. Ivica Križanić, Head of Maintenance at Croatian motorways (HAC), what exactly the maintenance of the motorway network consists of in the winter period:
Our employees monitor the situation on the roads 24/7, which includes any conditions related to snowfall. The decision-making process is supported by daily detailed weather forecasts and internal meteorological stations. There are about 150 of them, located along the sections of the entire highway. With the data obtained in this way and the inevitable experience at certain micro-locations, decisions are made to send vehicles onto the highway.
HAC uses spreading salt as a dry agent, but at lower temperatures when salt by itself is no longer as efficient, they switch to pre-wetting with brine. Both spreading technologies are available in Rasco spreaders, where the installation of brine tanks is available in addition to the standard solid agent tank. The new SOLID spreaders, which arrived at HAC at the beginning of December, are equipped with dry and liquid spreading agent tanks and a dry agent auger transport system. They are mounted directly on the chassis frame of the Iveco Trakker truck and came with their own storage legs, so they can be easily dismantled and stored outside the winter season. This makes it easier for HAC employees to clean the truck of residual salt after the winter season, and it frees up the truck for other tasks in spring and summer.
Although many drivers wish the road would be completely clean after the passage of winter service trucks, Mr. Križanić points out that winter service works around the clock during winter conditions, so that traffic can continue safely and without too many interruptions.
Highway maintenance is not the same in the wide and flat Slavonia region or mountains of Gorski Kotar and Lika. In mountainous areas, the motorway passes through cuts and passes in the mountains, snow is frequent, and winter service often works from autumn to early spring:
The highway through the mountainous area of Gorski kotar is mostly built through passes, so it is more difficult to remove snow from the stop lane and ensure a new plowing cycle. There are also many bridges and viaducts that are particularly sensitive due to the much higher possibility of freezing, says Mr. Križanić.
Winter conditions in Croatian mountains begun mid-November. In case of intense snowfall, winter service machines and trucks work non-stop for days in a row, with only drivers exchanging in shifts. The three new SOLID spreaders recently delivered to HAC have already been deployed across the country and are ready to tackle abundant winter snowfall. Rasco machines have been doing so for the last 18 years in HAC. With the latest delivery, HAC’s maintenance fleet now numbers a total of 260 vehicles with Rasco equipment.