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Douglas County green-lights winter safety

Green warning lights on new plows are designed to enhance visibility in snowy weather, officials said.

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A Douglas County Highway Department plow clears U.S. Highway 53 of snow near Solon Springs in February 2019.
Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — Douglas County’s new plow trucks will have a new look to enhance safety for operators and motorists alike.

The trucks will feature fluorescent green warning lights to make them more visible to drivers in winter driving conditions.

In the last session, the state Legislature passed new lighting options for municipal vehicles, allowing the use of fluorescent green warning lights, said Robbie Krejci, chairman of the Wisconsin County Highway Association Legislative Committee and St. Croix County highway commissioner.

“These new lighting options have proven to increase driver awareness significantly, creating a safer winter driving experience for the public,” Krejci said.

“The green lights offer a higher degree of contrast again the white background of the snow, making them easier to see in low-visibility conditions like heavy snow,” said Jason Jackman, Douglas County highway commissioner.

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The four new plow trucks the county ordered will be equipped with the new warning lights; however, Jackman said officials don't plan to retrofit older plow trucks. They will continue to add the warning lights to new trucks when the older ones are replaced, he said.

Superior doesn’t have plans to retrofit current vehicles, but would be adding the green warning lights to future vehicles, said Todd Janigo, public works director.

The new legislation limits the use of the green warning lights to municipal vehicles, said Roland Hawk, president of the association and Wood County highway commissioner. He urged drivers to watch for the new green warning lights as well as the traditional yellow warning lights when traveling this winter.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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