Highway agency recruits 'snow squad'
With winter looming and the first flakes possible this weekend, the State Highway Administration is looking for a few good snow scouts.
The agency is seeking to recruit a "snow squad" of about 30 volunteers to help highway officials assess road conditions this winter. According to SHA acting Administrator Darrell B. Mobley, personal observations can provide information on road conditions that the agency's cameras and traffic sensors can't detect.
Information provided by the volunteers will help officials at the agency's Statewide Operations Center in Hanover make decisions. According to the SHA, the volunteers will be trained to report on such matters as snow or ice on roadways, traffic vehicles and stranded motorists.
The agency is seeking volunteers who are at least 21, hold a valid driver's license with five years' experience and no moving violations or points in the past five years. Participants must agree to keep their vehicles in good winter condition, keep up-to-date insurance and follow all Maryland driving laws. That means no reporting in with a hand-held cell phone or by texting, said SHA spokeswoman Valerie Burnette Edgar.
Edgar said the agency will not ask volunteers to go out on the roads any more than they normally would, though she said the SHA hopes to recruit people who normally log a lot of miles on the road. She said the program is considered a pilot and that even if it becomes permanent officials expect to keep its numbers limited.
Edgar said the agency hopes to recruit a corps of volunteers that reflect the various regions of the state.
Volunteers can apply at Communications@sha.state.md.us.