Snow Removal Policy

 CALLAWAY COUNTY

ROAD & BRIDGE DEPARTMENT 

 

Snow Removal and Ice Control Policy

 November 2010

 

PURPOSE:

 

The following Policy has been established to provide guidelines for the public and for plow operators to follow in order to ensure consistent practices for snow and ice removal during winter storm events.  Our goal is to have all County Roads passable within a reasonable amount of time after a snowfall has stopped.  Our plowing priorities reflect a commitment to insuring that key roads are kept open to serve critical facilities and to provide access between state highways and our communities. This policy is designed to provide the best service possible, but residents should have realistic expectations. Unpredictable weather conditions and limited financial resources make it impossible to ensure absolutely safe roads. Even with the best service, driving conditions may be hazardous in the winter months, Icing bridges, snow packed roads and snow drifting onto roads are expected aspects of winter travel and drivers should be prepared and drive defensively.

 

 

BACKGROUND:

 

Callaway County maintains approximately 820 miles of County Roads.  Snow removal operations are accomplished with mounted plows with cinder spreaders and motor graders.  The number and types of equipment used in snow removal operations may change over time due to budget restrictions.  In order to reasonably meet the Public’s expectations; the following Policy will apply.

 

BASIS OF POLICY:

 

DISPATCHING OF SNOW PLOWS The decision to plow and/or cinder will be made by the County Highway Administrator and/or Road & Bridge Foreman based on the following guidelines:

 

  • ·       The County will not dispatch plows until after the snowfall has stopped; EXCEPT: (a) when conditions allow reasonable accomplishments to be made, or (b) in an emergency or other special circumstances.

 

  • The County will perform snow removal operations when accumulations exceed two (2) inches.

 

  • The County will perform ice control measures when icy conditions seriously affect travel.

 OPERATIONS Generally the following phases will be used in snow removal operations:

 

  1. 1.    Make the roads passable. Clean one lane in each direction. The County will perform cinder operations at problem areas, including curves, hills and intersections. The County does not assure a completely bare road and will not cinder entire sections of roadway. Users of the highway system are reminded to exercise caution and drive with care.

 

  1. 2.    Clean up.  Remove ice and slush off roadway after the cinders and sun have been allowed to work.

 

Depending upon the situation, more than one phase may be accomplished at one time.

 

HOURS OF OPERATION – The normal “weekday” early start time during a snow event is 5:00 a.m.  The County is staffed for one shift of snow and ice removal.  In a snow event, the necessary County personnel will be mobilized by the Road & Bridge Foreman or his designee and all necessary equipment will be on the road by 6:00 a.m.  Weekends and holidays will receive a reduced level of service due to lower traffic volumes and the limited resources available.

 

Operator duty shifts are generally limited to a maximum of 12 hours per day for safety reasons, therefore; most routes will not have coverage between 5:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. the next morning.

 

Note that in no case is 24 hour a day coverage provided due to lower traffic volumes, limited resources and operator safety concerns.

 

Operations will be halted when: (a) service levels are reached, (b) coverage time has elapsed, (c) conditions are too hazardous, or (d) reasonable accomplishments cannot be made.

 

 

ROAD PRIORITIESIt is the goal of the Road & Bridge Department to serve the majority of the public in the quickest way possible, with this in mind, roads with higher traffic volumes will typically receive higher priority.  The following are the priorities plow operators will attempt to adhere to.

 

  1. 1.    Major County Highways which carry heavy traffic volumes.

 

  1. 2.    Medium volume County roads that serve as mail and/or school bus routes and provide access for numerous rural residents.

 

  1. 3.    Low volume County roads that may serve as mail and/or school bus routes but serve few rural residents.

 

 

PERSONAL PROPERTYMailboxes, fences, and other items damaged during snow and ice removal are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  Only those items that were damaged by actual contact with County equipment may be repaired at the County’s expense, provided they were located and installed properly.

 

The Road & Bridge Department is not responsible for clearing snow in front of mailboxes.

 

The County is not liable for damages to fences, vehicles, and/or other objects placed on County right of way.

 

County residents are reminded to remove parked vehicles from county roadways to assist in snow removal. If parked vehicles are encountered and it is deemed they interfere with county snow removal equipment the roadway may not be plowed until vehicles are removed.

 

PRIVATE DRIVESThe County will not clear snow from private drives. Normal snow removal operations may result in snow being deposited in private drives. Snow from private drives shall not be placed on the county roadway.  Piles of snow left on or near the road from private drives can freeze into a solid mass creating a hazardous situation for vehicles and snowplows.  Accidents and damages caused by snow piles placed in the roadway may result in liability to the property owner.

 

STRANDED MOTORISTSPlow operators may assist stranded motorists by contacting local law enforcement and/or emergency personnel.  Plow operators will not attempt to remove a stuck vehicle unless: (a) directed by law enforcement, (b) it poses a danger to the traveling public, or (c) it hinders snow removal operations.

 

EMERGENCIES – Snow plow crews will not be dispatched at night except for true emergency calls such as assisting fire departments or ambulance crews. The Callaway County Emergency Operations Center should be contacted for all emergencies by dialing 911.  Plows will not be dispatched unless it is a Fire or Medical Emergency coordinated through the Sheriff’s Office. Icing bridges, snow packed roads and snow drifting onto roads are expected aspects of winter travel and generally not adequate justification to dispatch plow crews after working hours.

 

INFORMATION Non-emergency questions or concerns regarding snow removal should be directed to the Callaway County Road & Bridge Department at 573-642-0740 during normal business hours (M-F 7:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.).

 

SUMMARY OF THE POLICY:

 

This Policy was developed to provide general guidelines for both county personnel and the traveling public.  This policy intends to cover the majority of situations normally encountered in winter storm events.  If certain situations arise that are not part of the above Policy, the County Highway Administrator or Road & Bridge Foreman will deal with them on a case-by-case basis.  Each decision to mobilize the snow plow crews is a judgment call based on the particular weather conditions combined with past experience along with the resources available at the time and therefore may not adhere strictly to this general policy.

 

Callaway County Road & Bridge Snow Removal Policy

Frequently Asked Questions

 

When does plowing begin?

The County will not usually dispatch plows until after a snowfall has stopped. Exceptions may be made during extended snowfalls, but plows will not be sent out in hazardous conditions.  If snowfall stops during regular working hours, plows may be dispatched at that time. If the snowfall stops during the night or early morning, plows will be dispatched after 5:00 a.m. to accommodate the traveling public. Weekend and holiday plowing is at a reduced level.

What gets plowed?

Callaway County has nearly 820 miles of roads that are maintained. Roads are prioritized according to traffic and area served such as schools and emergency services.

What is the plowing procedure?

The County does not assure a completely bare road and it will not cinder entire sections of roadway.  County plows phase their operation in the following manner:

  1. Make the road passable by cleaning one lane in each direction.

Cindering takes place at problem locations, including intersections, curves and hills. 

  1. Cleanup, during which ice and slush are removed after the sun is allowed to do its work.

What about property damage caused by plowing?

Fence and mailbox damage: the County will repair at its expense only fences and boxes which were damaged by actual contact with County equipment.  Damage resulting from snow flying from the plow is not the responsibility of the County.

What is my responsibility?

Do not plow snow from driveways onto or across County roads.  Piles of snow left on or near the road can freeze into a solid mass, creating a hazardous situation for vehicles and snowplows.  Accidents and damages caused by snow piles placed in the roadways may result in liability to the property owner. As snow is plowed from roadways, County operators leave as little snow as possible across driveways. County removal of this snow is not feasible and is the property owner’s responsibility.

What about parked vehicles?

County residents are reminded to remove parked vehicles from County roads to assist in snow removal. If to many vehicles are in the way the roadway may not be plowed.

What if I get stranded or stuck?

The County Highway Department may assist stranded motorists by contacting law enforcement/emergency personnel.  The department will not attempt to remove stuck vehicles from ditches, snow banks or any other impediment.