Somebody's thinking about winter already! Thurs3DOT questions answered

Thursday-Three_smallSomebody’s already thinking about winter in one of today’s Thursday 3 with the DOT questions. The questions today range from very broad to a pretty specific question on funding.

Each week we take questions from Facebook and Twitter and answer three of them on our blog. When you submit questions on Facebook or Twitter, use #Thurs3DOT to we make sure we get them. Our goal for Thursday  is to make the transportation system easier to understand, so if you have a question, please let us know.

Q. What roads is the Iowa DOT responsible for?

A. The Iowa DOT has responsibility for more than 9,400 miles of roads designated as interstate or U.S. or state routes. We also maintain more than 4,200 bridges on those roads. The cities and counties are responsible for city streets and county paved and gravel roads.

Q. How do you decide which roads get plowed first?

A.  We have 109 maintenance garages situated around the state, each with a fleet of snowplows that will vary in number depending on the area that garage is assigned to cover.  The roads in each coverage area are mapped out in specific snow plow runs based on the amount of equipment and number of staff available. The staff in each garage uses data collected from a variety of sources to gauge the weather so they can call in the appropriate staff for each storm.

Depending on the level of staffing at the garage, not all trucks will be out at the same time. Clearing each route takes from one to three hours. There is a hierarchy (A,B and C) of routes depending on the traffic levels of the road. Level A roads, mainly interstates are plowed on shorter runs of every 1 to 1.5 hours, the snow runs of level B and C roads are longer. Our winter season begins Oct. 15. Once the season starts, you will be able to see where all our snowplows are on our website –

Q. How do local projects get funded?

A. There is a formula that is used to distribute funds from the Road Use Tax Fund to cities and counties for their projects. Money comes into the RUTF from fees and fuel taxes. The chart below is a little complicated, but if you look at the left side, you’ll see that out of the RUTF comes three funds that go into city and county projects from the Secondary Road Fund, the Farm-to-Market Road Fund and the Street Construction Fund. There is also funding to cities and counties from the Time-21 Fund that receives dollars from trailer, title and registration fees. You can find all the funding details at




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