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Driving in to the office this morning I caught a glimpse of a rare creature indeed: the North Texas spotted sanding truck.  Some people go a whole lifetime here in Texas without witnissing this marvel of nature.  These big, lumbering beasts make appearances about 3 days a year here, and today was one of them. 

When the streets are super icy — which in Texas could mean that someone simply spilled a Big Gulp on the street — then the sanding trucks come out and do their thing, dumping tons of sand on the road much in the same way your little rolling lawn fertilizer does.  A powerful bladed fan located at the back spins to throw sand behind the truck.

They’re capable of running for several miles without a reload, but around here they just generally hit the bridges and overpasses.

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8 Responses to It’s Just Cool: Sanding Truck

  1. TheMatt says:

    Here in Colorado they are rare too, recently. Of course, that is due to the fact that they are all broken down for being in constant use the last 5 weeks.

  2. Myself says:

    And then in spring, the giant vacuum truck comes to suck the sand out of the bottoms of all the catch basins. Sand is one of those kludges they use where salt isn’t practical. Detroit sits on a giant vein of salt, and our mine produces road salt for most of the region, so we’ve never needed to use sand.

  3. chris says:

    I wish they’d use sand here in Missouri. All of this salt tends to cut car body lifespans to about 15 years.

  4. Me says:

    Where I grew up they would mix coal ashes from the power plant in with the salt to make it go farther. And every fall they would dump a small pile of ashes at the bottom of the steep hills around the county. So if you got stuck, and had your shovel with you, you could spread them out to gain some traction. By mid-january everyone’s car was covered in a nice black film. Those were the days (and they weren’t that long ago!)

  5. Myself says:

    Well yes Chris, and that keeps Detroit in business. 😉 Or kept, anyway, until those meddling Japanese figured out rustproofing… Curses!

    Personally, I think cars should just have big claws that extend from the tires when there isn’t enough traction, like that “the Claw” toy car. Or big fans! Hovercraft don’t have trouble with icy roads. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    (Whoah, who’s in a zany mood today?)

  6. Rick says:

    Sand isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I grew up in NYS (and I’m back here again) and I always thought the same thing – how bad salt was for the vehicles, etc.
    Then I moved to Connecticut for a few years. They use (or used at the time) sand exclusively. Great, my car won’t look white all winter..
    Too bad then you’re left with the sand blasted front end.

    At least the paint remains intact until the metal rusts away from behind it when you’re dealing with salt 🙂

    My car was a daily driver in CT for 15 years.. so I’m now stuck contemplating if I should bother getting it resprayed. I’m definitely going to replace the headlights for the same reason..

  7. Bohemian says:

    Here in North Texas (Amarillo) we see these things quite often every year. It gets in the single digits every most every winter and snows usally 3 times in the 6 – 12 inch range. I remeber it use to snow so deep, 30+ years ago, we would make snow caves and tunnels.

  8. jeff says:

    In MN we use a salt/sand mix and it works great despite the nasty things it does to ones automobile. It was 5 degrees Fahrenheit (for the high) yesterday and the snowpack and ice was melting on the road surfaces.

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