Each winter season, the Public Works Department manages snow removal for the City of Trotwood which encompasses 30 square miles of roadway. As part of the Public Works Department’s Mission Statement, their goal is to provide the best and most cost-effective snow and ice control in the community by ensuring that every city street is plowed as soon as possible after a snow event of 1 to 4 inches of snow and to keep communication lines open with residents to ensure optimal results.
Snow Removal Process
As simple as the snow removal process may seem, it is actually a very complex process with the city divided into (8) snow zones. No two snow events are the same, and each is handled according to a plan of operation for each type of snow event, which includes icing conditions, light snow, moderate amounts of snow, and heavy snow. Each snow event requires the Public Works Department to monitor Doppler radar, Police information and current weather information to react effectively to that event. In preparing for a snow emergency, and by being diligent in monitoring incoming snow storms, the Public Works Department remains ready for the event and can react accordingly. One factor that all residents need to be aware of is when the city receives heavy snow, a part of the plan for that type of snow removal may be to have the Public Works Department snow removal vehicles off the road until the heaviest part of the snow has decreased. The reason for this is to make snow removal more efficient and to increase the effectiveness of the salt that is dispensed when removal is taking place. There are (10) trucks and other additional vehicles available for snow removal which are equipped with snow removal and salt dispensing equipment. Since the Public Works Department employees are usually scheduled for a standard shift and does not have employees on other shifts, when a snow event occurs, almost all personnel are utilized in snow removal. This differs from other cities that may have employees scheduled on three separate shifts. Depending on the duration of the snow event, the City of Trotwood Public Works Department employees may end up working split shifts to cover snow removal.
As a part of standard snow removal in the city’s (8) snow zones, all main thoroughfares are scheduled for snow removal first. A main thoroughfare is a street that is heavily traveled and has traffic that is utilized to transport people through the city. It also encompasses other ancillary streets that connect to the main thoroughfare. Secondary streets are scheduled for plowing after the main thoroughfares have been cleared. Secondary streets are those that are residential or that are not considered heavily traveled.
All residents should be aware that vehicles must be removed from the street when (3) or more inches of snow is predicted for the area, which will make snow removal more effective and allow plowing vehicles to get through the area.
Treating Roadways with Salt
Salt is dispensed during a snow event when the temperature is above 13 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt is ineffective at temperatures 13 degrees Fahrenheit or below. The Public Works Department has been using Clear Lane Salt, which is treated with calcium and is green in color. This type of salt can be effective to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The use of brine, which is formulated salted water, is used when a snow event that does not include rain is forecast far enough in advance to allow the brine to dry on the road surface. The Public Works Department seasonally uses an average of $100,000 of salt, and has a 2,000 pound capacity to store salt for use in snow removal and street safety.
What You Need To Know About Snow Emergencies
The Ohio Attorney General Opinion 86-023 allows a county sheriff to declare a snow emergency and temporarily close county and township roads within his jurisdiction for the preservation of the public peace. The Montgomery County Sheriff determines the levels for snow emergencies and for what roadways, based on information received on road conditions.
Level 1: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads are also icy. Drive very cautiously.
Level 2: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roadways. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.
Level 3: All roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. However, those traveling on the roadways may subject themselves to prosecution.
The Public Works Department complies with the levels of snow emergencies issued by the Montgomery County Sheriff.