Message About Snow Cleanup

Message From Interim City Manager About Snow Removal

Dear community member,

This has been a tough winter. But, I don't have to tell you that. You have been very patient as Mother Nature has pounded us again and again with snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures.

I know many of you are hanging in with us, but I wanted to share the situation we are in with you.

Battling winter is as much an art as it is a science. We have to deploy our resources at just the right time to be effective. And those resources are getting a bit strained.

We started out December with about 60 trucks that we could use to cover the 2800 lane miles we have in the city. And though our mechanics have been working 12-hour shifts along with our drivers, our old trucks are breaking down. We're now down to 48 or so trucks in the Public Services fleet.

City crews have been on 12-hour shifts 31 days since the first big snow on December 5. And we'll keep at it.

Our salt supply is getting low, as you've probably read. Supplies everywhere are getting low. We're keeping an eye on that and working with our suppliers to keep stocked as best as possible.

I know its frustrating to have ice on the roads for days. I'm sorry our efforts have been slower than everyone would have liked -- including us.

The accumulation that fell this week was a dense pack of ice and snow. We've got to clear the street with the plows first to make the best use of the salt. Plowing a lane of a street takes about twice as long as driving it and spraying salt alone. That's what we have to do when the temperatures drop and ice forms and reforms quickly. We're going to keep fighting.

The city has pulled in trucks from other departments to help with plowing and we're expecting a bit of a break from the snow today. This should help us get the residential roads in order. Downtown streets require us to plow and haul snow out to another location. This takes resources and time. And streets there are refreezing as well in these cold temperatures.

I want to thank you for supporting the city crews out on the roads. Here are a few ways you can help snow removal efforts:

  • Keep cars off the streets so the plows can get through. If you can pull in close to the curb or even pull on it a little, it will give them more room to get through the narrow residential streets.
  • Don't push snow from driveways and private streets into public roadways. This causes more mounds of snow to refreeze on streets already treated.
  • Yield to snow plows. Let the city trucks through and keep at least 2 car lengths back so salt hits the street.
  • Stay safe and warm in this frigid weather, and please check on your neighbors, too.

Sincerely,

Scott Stiles
Interim City Manager