A snow plow fitted with a Pratt and Whitney ST6A turbine turboprop engine removes snow from the Kootenay Pass on Highway 3 between Creston and Salmo in the mid-1960s. (BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure photo)

A snow plow fitted with a Pratt and Whitney ST6A turbine turboprop engine removes snow from the Kootenay Pass on Highway 3 between Creston and Salmo in the mid-1960s. (BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure photo)

Jet-powered snow plow once deployed on B.C. highways

Powerful truck was fitted with a Pratt and Whitney ST6A turbine turboprop engine

It might sound like a harebrained Homer Simpson creation, but a jet-powered snow plow once existed and was temporarily put to work on B.C. highways.

According to a bit of local highways maintenance history, recently re-shared by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on its Facebook page, in the early 1960s, the province experimentally fitted a 285-lb ST6A turbine turboprop engine, manufactured by Pratt and Whitney Canada, into a snow plow. The result was a 31,100-lb (unloaded) truck that ran on diesel (but could also run on furnace oil and gasoline), and put out 320 horsepower.

By comparison, the typical truck used weighed 2,000 lbs and put out 250 horsepower.

Read more: Snapshot: Avalanche rolls over snowshed tunnel on Highway 1 east of Revelstoke

Read more: AIM Roads responds to abuse of staff, public frustrations in Okanagan-Shuswap

The jet-powered plow could go 0-50 km/h in 10 seconds without gear changes, and come to a complete stop from that speed in five seconds. According to the ministry, it could also climb 16 kilometers of six per cent grade while keeping a constant speed of 65 km/h – all under actual working conditions.

While powerful and good for long, straight stretches, the vehicle didn’t handle well on tight curves or easily go around obstacles. It also burned through a lot more fuel than the typical diesel-powered truck. These factors lead the province to discontinue the vehicle’s use a few years after its debut on B.C. highways.

Asked what became of the plow, the ministry suggested it may have been dismantled and used for parts in other machines.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Snow

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

David Leger (left) and Ben Nyland (right) at the 2016 Globe Conference. As Loop Energy grew into a multi-million dollar enterprise, Leger handed the CEO reins to Nyland, who continues to run the company. (Submitted photo)
Loop Energy: Believing in a dream pays off for Chilliwack investors

This is part 3 of a 3-part series on the rise of Loop Energy, now being traded publicly on the TSX

The Harrison Hot Springs village office, as seen from the back. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Harrison to see more than half its revenue from grants in 2021

Harrison council approved the 2021-2024 Financial Plan Monday night

Heather P. (Right) and Hope Buy-Low Foods store manager Pauline Newbigging (left) show off Heather’s winnings as she enjoys free groceries for a year. The prize package from Buy-Low, one of six chain-wide, is valued at more than $5,000. (Photo/Pauline Newbigging)
Hope Buy-Low shopper wins free groceries for a year

Prize package from MYNR app valued at $5,200

Signs geared to protecting salmon habitat were damaged at the Fraser River near Chilliwack. (Facebook)
New signs for protecting Fraser River habitat near Chilliwack vandalized

Fishery officers want off-road users to enjoy river resource in the ‘least damaging way possible’

Kelli Paddon in her virtual speech to the House of Commons on Tuesday, March 2. (B.C. Legislature)
Chilliwack-Kent MLA thanks Agassiz’s Miel Bernstein in legislature speech

Bernstein is the founder of Project AIM, which gives people in need access to period products

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. teacher transferred then suspended after students report feeling ‘scared, nervous’

Authorities found that teacher did not create inviting, respectful environment for students

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Most Read