By Dennis Randolph/Public Works Director
When winter comes, whether we like it or not, we must expect snow on our roads. The City’s primary concern when it snows is to keep our streets as safe as possible. However, we must not forget that drivers have a duty to slow-down and take extra care and caution. But for the City our job is to clear streets in an efficient and cost effective way that allows people to safely maintain important activities even when the weather is poor. To do this the City of Grandview uses a two-stage snow and ice clean-up procedure. Most communities use a similar approach and we have used this procedure for many years. It is intended to maximize safety for drivers around the entire City.
As a first step, we treat streets on the City’s “Snow Route” system, de-icing, applying salt, and plowing as necessary to keep them as safe as possible and passable. Snow Route streets are marked by signs with the legend “Snow Route” on them. Once a snow storm has passed and the Snow Routes are clear, we enter our second step or “District Mode.” In this step, we move our equipment to the non-Snow Route streets and plow and salt as appropriate to keep them open for emergency vehicles.
Our target for clean-up is to complete work within 24-hours after snow has stopped falling. While we will treat Snow Routes during any significant snow event, we generally only plow Districts when 3 or 4-inches of snow have accumulated or conditions are especially icy.
Each year we review our “Snow Routes” and adjust them based on traffic volumes and other connectivity issues. We also review our call-out procedures to insure that we take timely steps during a storm. That is, when we start clearing efforts, when we salt, when we plow, which chemicals we use. In the end, our plan is to keep streets as safe as possible, for as many of our residents and visitors as possible, and to complete our work in a reasonable amount of time. We do not want to waste our chemicals as they are expensive, and we try to plan the use of our snow plow driver’s time wisely. While we hear stories of long hours plowing, after about 15 hours driving a plow, things are neither safe nor efficient.
In any case, it is generally recognized in the public works business that we cannot treat all our streets at the same time, and that some streets must be cleared before others. In Grandview’s case, “Snow Route” streets are treated first and then the remaining “District” streets are treated. We want our streets as safe as possible, and we must live within our budget, those two factors are primary drivers in how we plan for and provide snow and ice removal in Grandview.