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Snow Removal Policy
Priorities for Snow Plowing and Ice Control Service on City streets
The City has a "Bare Pavement" policy for number "1" and "2" priority streets. This means that these streets will be plowed and salted to bare pavement within 24 hours of a snow or ice event, even if it requires overtime for City forces to do so. The attack plan in the City’s snow removal and ice control efforts will obviously vary quite considerably depending on the storm event. A sleet storm would be primarily an ice control operation involving salt spreaders. A less than 4" snowfall would find salt spreaders and plow trucks concentrating on number "1" and "2" priority streets. Number "3" and "4" priority streets may not be plowed or salted on these small events. Larger Snows (4" to 8") would show an initial concentration on the number "1" and "2" priority streets with an ongoing effort to keep them open during the snow event and additional effort applied to number "3" and "4" priority streets. Overtime plowing and ice control would begin on flatter local streets (priority "3") once the accumulations reach approximately 4" and the major streets are completed. Parking lots generally are plowed through the night or early in the morning before stores are open. It is extremely difficult to plow parking lots during the day when they are parked full or partially full, so this is avoided unless absolutely necessary.
To effectively provide snow and ice control, the Department uses snow plowing in conjunction with the application of road salt. Rock salt, even with its known environmental draw backs, is still the principal element used for ice control purposes. Occasionally, sand is mixed with salt or calcium chloride to increase traction during ice storms or periods of extreme cold. However, the use of sand is generally avoided as it tends to fill and clog storm drains. Sand works better on rural roads.
The City of Northville is aware there is growing public concern regarding environmental impacts associated with the use of road salt for snow and ice control purposes. Even with known environmental concerns, recent studies conducted by the Federal Highway Administration concluded that salt is still the most effective means of snow and ice control for roadways and sidewalks. Recognizing that proper use of snow and ice control agents can make the difference between public appreciation or condemnation of snow fighting efforts, the City of Northville only salts number "1" and "2" priority streets (bare pavement policy streets). In addition, City crews will salt intersections, curves and hills on number "3" priority streets. This managed use of salt placement, together with timely snow plowing efforts will continue to promote safe travel on City streets during the winter months while helping to diminish a potential risk to the environment associated with salt usage.
Residents and businesses should remember to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of a snow or ice event. You are also asked not to push, or allow your contractor to push snow or ice across or into City streets. This is dangerous and is an illegal activity, which may result in a fine to the property owner or contractor.
Many times the Public Works Department receives calls regarding snowplow trucks depositing snow at the end of driveways or in front of mailboxes. This is a reality of snow plowing, and it cannot be helped. If our roads are to be plowed, the snow must be pushed to the side of the road. If you have a neighbor who is unable to remove the snow from their driveway or in front of their mail boxes, please assist them, as the City does not have the resources or the manpower to clear drive approaches or mail boxes. We ask for your understanding and cooperation.
Everyone understands that there can be no standard plan of attack for snow and ice control which can be followed as a firm recipe, inasmuch as each storm event is different. The years of experience of your Public Works employees in snow and ice fighting operations are extremely important in the implementation of this critical work. Their experience in a variety of demanding situations is an essential ingredient to an effective winter maintenance effort. Your cooperation will greatly assist them in these efforts and is greatly appreciated.