Winter is here along with a New (and hopefully better) Year! We hope everyone has remained safe and healthy!
5 min read
Winter weather, especially the lake effect snow and high winds, can present a real challenge for the Town of Osceola and neighboring communities. One item that is of particular concern to our citizens during the winter months is the removal of snow. There are approximately 15 sq. miles of streets in our Town that must be plowed and maintained on a regular basis. We have a dedicated crew of 2 men on the Osceola Street Department that have the daunting task of making the streets of Osceola as safe as possible during inclement weather, with sometimes having to spend many hours behind the wheel of the trucks at all hours of the day or night to accomplish that task. Our street department employees take great pride in the way they maintain the public rights-of-way. They understand that all aspects of travel in our Town are affected by the snow and ice on the public rights-of-way and we feel that the job they do of clearing snow from these areas is highly commendable. We periodically get calls at Town Hall about our snow plowing effortrs so we would like to share information with you so that everyone can understand the workings of the snow removal process in our Town.
Plow Routes: The streets are plowed and salted in order of prioprity and each street can take 4-8 passes depending on the width of the street and severity of the weather. Main streets are addressed first with special attention paid to difficult intersections. Side streets are done next and then dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs are cleared. During an extremely heavy snowfall, main arteries will be kept open and are the PRIORITY. After all the streets in Town have been cleared and passable, the drivers will then begin to remove excess snow where they can and work to widen the streets where possible. Salt is laid down after the snow has been removed from the streets. Please keep in mind that the salt does not miraculously work the instrant it is put down, especially in extremely cold temperatures. It has to have time to penetrate and gather some warmth either from the sun or by the heat of traction from vehicle tires. Our goal is to have all Town streets open and passable within 24 hours of a snow event.
Blocked Driveways and Sidewalks: Snow plows angle the same way...to the driver's right. The plow is designed to throw snow away from the truck and when going by, they will push the snow in front of a driveway, mailbox and onto sidewalks. This is an unfortunate side effect of plowing. Priority is given to keeping streets open so that emergency and public safety vehicles can get through and motorists can get to work, school or medical appointments. Sometimes streets are plowed often in which case a plow may throw snow back upon a freshly shoveled driveway, mailbox or sidewalk. Understand that this is not our intention but rather a consequence of keeping streets clear. Each homeowner is responsible for access to their driveway, mailbox and sidewalk.
Private Plowing: Per Ordinance 1-2006, the Town prohibits private contractors or residents form pushing or blowing snow from driveways, parking lots or sidewalks onto Town streets. This is a dangerous practice that can cause damage to property and infrastructure and impede the street departments' snow removal efforts.
Speed: Snow plows need to maintain a speed of 15-20 mph to maintain momentum of the truck on slick surfaces while pushing heavy snow. Depending on the type and depth of snow, speeds may increase. Speed cannot be judged by the sound of our trucks alone. Engines with turbochargers, clutch fans and an array of electronic devices that cycle on and off during operation can make them sound like they are going much faster than they are.
On-Street Parking: During a snow event it is highly recommended that vehicles be placed in driveways or garages during snow removal operations. This will allow the drivers to plow back to the curb line and avoid having to come back to clean the areas where parked cars have sat. It will also help to ensure that vehicles do not become plowed in when the drivers come through to clean the streets. Our drivers are mandated to plow curb to curb to make room for future snow. We will make all efforts to clear as much snow as possible and this may mean coming back through neighborhoods to hit areas where cars have moved after a snow event.
Hopefully this information will help in understanding our snow removal process and answer some of the questions that we hear from our citizens during the winter season. We strive to provide exceptional service to the community in all we do, and snow removal is a top priority of the street department and the Town of Osceola. At times, it is a thankless job and we ask that you understand the stress that all plow drivers have to go through...sometimes plowing all night while we are at home in our warm, cozy beds...staring at nothing but white snow flying through the air as they plow...keeping their mind on constant alert to all surroundings and becoming excessively tired after riding in the truck for hours on end. But, please be assured that no matter what Mother Nature has in store for us, we will make every effort to tackle the challenge and will respond with the best service we can provide.
The Town of Osceola
The Osceola Street Department