Snow & Ice Maintenance
Snow & Ice Removal
Our Public Works crews are responsible for maintaining safe passage for approximately 600 lane miles of streets not including alleys. The objective of our Snow and Ice Policies and Procedures (PDF) is to remove snow and ice from the roadways as safely, quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively as possible to restore normal traffic conditions and services to residents, businesses and visitors.
PreparationPreparation of the snow removal equipment begins in late September and continues through October. This allows us to meet our goal of having all our trucks, related heavy equipment and brine facility, inspected, repaired, ready to respond to any winter event.
Winter StormsThe only constant of winter storms is that they are never the same and are always subject to change. Each event must be treated individually taking all variables into consideration. The time of day, temperature, winds, amount of snow or ice are just a few that determine how we prepare and effectively plan to provide the safest travel during each event.
When winter storms are expected, City personnel carefully monitor the storm's movement on radar. With more detailed tracking of ground conditions, temperatures and storm history we are then able to quickly mobilize our crews and equipment reducing response time.
Salt BrineThe City has the capability of producing salt brine, a tap water and sodium chloride solution (road salt) mixed in concentrations of 23-26% salt that has a freezing point of -6° Fahrenheit. If rain is not predicted prior to a winter event arriving, the City utilizes brine tanks with a spray bar deicing system on the trucks. Before the event, major and minor arterial streets are lined with salt brine. This practice is to keep the snow or ice from bonding to the street enabling more productive removal. Salt brine is also added to the road salt at the rear spinner to pre-wet the salt allowing it to more readily stay in place and quicken the melting process.
Liquid Calcium ChlorideWhen temperatures are consistently below 25° Fahrenheit, a liquid calcium chloride is mixed with the salt to increase the salt's melting effectiveness in lower temperatures.
Snow RoutesThe snow routes are broken down into five groups with four trucks assigned to each group. Priority is placed on the major arterial streets with two large trucks assigned to these streets in each group. A one-ton truck and pickup are assigned to the priority collector and residential streets. When there is an extended event, every effort is made to schedule available employees for 12 hour shifts.
When Following Snow Removal TrucksWhen driving around snow removal trucks be careful and courteous and remember these tips:
- Don't pass a snow plow unless absolutely necessary
- Don't assume the snow plow operator can see you. Every truck has blind spots which reduce side and rear visibility
- Allow plenty of stopping distance; don't follow too closely. This also reduces the chance of material from the salt spinner hitting your vehicle.
- Keep your headlights on low beam.
- Slow Down.