Snow Removal and Ice Policy
Approval Date: December 3, 2018
OBJECTIVE & GOALS:
It is the City of Horace’s objective is to provide timely, efficient and cost-effective snow and ice control on City streets for the safety and benefit of residents and the general motoring public. The primary goal is to keep main arterials passable for emergency vehicles and public transportation. The secondary goal is to clear snow and control ice on all other streets as quickly as possible.
The objective and goals stated above will be achieved by implementation and execution of the procedures and tasks outlined in the second section of this document and titled Snow Removal and Ice Control Practices & Procedures. Due to the many variables that are inherent in North Dakota weather, each storm and/or weather event may require slightly different effort and/or emphasis on any number of maintenance tasks, which together, determine the overall winter maintenance, snow removal or ice control strategy. Conditions are evaluated using information provided by weather forecasts, the City of Horace’s Public Works Department, the Cass County Sheriff’s Department, and visual verification. Although it is not feasible to maintain snow and ice-free roads during a storm, the Public Works Department will conduct plowing operations throughout snowstorms to keep Emergency and Special Facility Routes open for vehicles. All operational decisions will be based upon this goal. Removal of snow and ice from public streets and public parking lots is considered an emergency operation that takes precedence over other tasks of the Public Works Department. If another emergency arises during snow removal operations, the City Administrator or their designee will decide which emergency has priority.
Direction of all winter maintenance activities for the City of Horace is vested with the City Administrator or their designee.
COMMENCING SNOW PLOWING, ANTI-ICING, AND DEICING OPERATIONS:
The City Administrator or the Public Works Supervisor shall decide when snow and ice control operations shall begin. During nights and weekends the Cass County Sheriff’s Department may also advise the Public Works Supervisor when road conditions appear to warrant mobilization of snow removal or ice control activity. SNOW PLOWING: Generally, snow removal operations will not begin until at least two inches of snow has accumulated on the streets within a 24-hour period. However, based upon weather information reports and previous accumulations of snow and ice on the streets, the City Administrator or the Public Works Supervisor may decide to begin snow removal operations when greater or lesser accumulations have occurred, or when drifting snow is accumulating on the streets. Snow removal operations will generally be performed in late night and early morning hours when traffic is at a minimum for safety reasons and to avoid blocking parked cars on the streets or blocking driveways while residents are away from home. Consideration will be given to beginning snow removal operations to prevent or minimize the accumulation of packed snow which may cause rutting. If, in the judgment of the Mayor, City Administrator, Public Works Supervisor, and/or the Cass County Sheriff’s Department, it is necessary to remove snow during daytime to keep the emergency routes open for ambulances, fire trucks, and law enforcement, a Snow Emergency Declaration may be issued to prohibit parking on the Snow Emergency Routes, and if conditions warrant, a No Travel Declaration will be issued to prohibit vehicles from using City streets except in emergency situations.
Ice control may be addressed during the actual storm as seen effective and following the storm. It should be noted that salt has a much slower effect on melting snow and ice at temperatures below 20 degrees and is not effective below 0 degrees; therefore, it is generally not applied until temperatures are 20 degrees or higher. Ice control in advance of a storm requires pretreatment with a liquid anti-icing agent for which the City is not equipped. Establishing a pretreatment ice control strategy would require a significant investment in equipment which would be seldom used in the typical winter season.
Most snow and ice control operations are performed by City crews. However, the City may use both City resources and private contractors to provide this service. The City Administrator may decide to use contractor services, based on the duration, intensity, and nature of the storm. Generally, contractor services are utilized for hauling snow and for addressing gravel roads. The Public Works Supervisor will maintain a list of contractors with their equipment and personnel they have available, and their current hourly rates. In the fall of the year, the Public Works Supervisor will obtain contact contractors to determine their availability for snow and ice control and their current hourly rates.
EXTRAORDINARY WEATHER CONDITIONS:
During extraordinary snow and ice events, additional personnel and equipment may be utilized to supplement operations. During periods of extended continuous snowfall or freezing rain, operations may be focused on primary transportation routes and emergency service delivery locations and may be performed on a limited scale. Snow and ice control operations will be conducted when weather conditions do not endanger the safety of employees or equipment, and operations are effective. Factors that may delay snow and ice control operations include severe cold, significant winds, limited visibility, and rapid accumulation of snow and/or ice.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS:
The Public Works Department may provide information to the local radio stations on road conditions during storms, on the City’s Facebook account and on the City’s website encouraging public cooperation during snowstorms. SIDEWALKS: Snow removal from sidewalks abutting City-owned property will be conducted as possible during winter storms, based on personnel availability. However, maintaining safe roadways will take priority over sidewalks.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONCERNS OF RESIDENTS:
Under the City of Horace Revised Ordinances of 2003 residents are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks abutting their property. Residents are prohibited from depositing snow or ice from driveways and walkways in the street. By City ordinances the owner of the property abutting the Right of Way (ROW) is required to maintain the area back of curb, including sidewalks. Property owners often confuse that area as their own property. Homeowner often cultivate extensions of their lawns, install landscaping materials, or erect fences or stonewalls in these boulevard areas, which may improve the appearance of the street, but often interferes with maintenance in the roadway. The intent of the right-of-way is to provide room for snow storage, utilities, sidewalks, and other City and public uses, and during snow plowing operations snow from public streets is routinely plowed onto the boulevard area back of the curb. A common complaint by the public is that snow is deposited in driveways and walkways. Snow is not intentionally or carelessly deposited in driveways and walkways but is a result of normal plowing operations. Most of the City's mainline plowing vehicles are equipped with a front plow for the plowing of residential streets. Plows are angled to the right for plowing from the centerline of the street to the curb. For this reason, a certain amount of snow will be deposited in driveways. The cost of maintaining adequate personnel and equipment to clear walkways and driveways of snow deposited during plowing operations is prohibitive. When there is a large accumulation of snow, the plows will be able to open only the driving lanes and would need to make additional passes to clear snow from the full width of the street the next day. This blocks the driveways twice and therefore is done only when no feasible alternative is available.
SNOW REMOVAL FROM PRIVATE PROPERTY:
The City will only plow or sand public streets, driveways, or walkways, and will not remove snow from or sand private parking lots or driveways. The City does not normally provide winter maintenance for other public agencies, unless arrangements have been made and approved by the City.
DAMAGE TO PRIVATE PROPERTY:
The City will only be responsible to repair or replace damaged property having been in actual contact with snow removal equipment that is on private property and not within the public right-of-way, except for mailboxes. Other damage within the public right-of-way is the responsibility of the property owner including, but not limited to, trees, shrubs, bushes, landscaping materials, decorative rock, and lawn/landscaping irrigation systems. The City will repair or replace sod damaged by its snowplows during snow removal operations if reported to the Public Works Department by May 1. The City does not repair or replace sod damaged due to the application of sand, salt, or other deicing chemicals.
It is the responsibility of the resident to maintain their mail box in a state of good repair, and of sufficient strength to withstand normal maintenance operations. A mailbox damaged as a result of direct contact by City snow removal equipment will be temporarily repaired within 24 hours of receiving notification of such damage. If the mailbox and post cannot be temporarily repaired, a portable mailbox will be set in place, so mail service may be continued. The City will replace the damaged mailbox structure the following spring with a standard No. 1 black, white, or silver mailbox mounted on a 4-by-4-inch treated wood post, or, if the property owner prefers to make his/her own repairs or replacement, will pay the owner the actual cost of materials based on paid invoices, not to exceed $75.00. Property owners are responsible for keeping their mailboxes accessible to the US Postal Service to receive mail.
MANAGING COMPLAINTS AND REQUESTS FOR SERVICE:
During snow and ice control operations, numerous inquiries, complaints, and requests for service are received by the City Hall staff. The Public Works Department will take measures to keep City Hall staff informed and updated regarding snow and ice removal operations (e.g., schedules and breakdowns). The City Hall staff shall answer questions and concerns from citizens and record pertinent information related to the inquiry. If the caller requests action which City Hall staff is unable to perform, City Hall staff shall notify appropriate personnel of inquiries, complaints, and requests for service based on the following: • Safety issues affecting the public or City staff shall be forwarded immediately by radio or telephone, or hand delivered to the Public Works Supervisor or appropriate personnel, as determined in advance by the City Administrator or designee. • Non-safety related issues shall be forwarded to the Street Superintendent in a timely manner. • Property damage (e.g., mailboxes and sod) shall be recorded and forwarded to the Public Works Supervisor by e-mail immediately upon receipt.
CITY OF HORACE SNOW REMOVAL AND ICE CONTROL PRACTICES & PROCEDURES EQUIPMENT:
The Public Works Department utilizes all the assets of the department as needed to address snow emergencies. Snow equipment shall be operational by November 1st. Equipment with multiple uses may not be converted for snow operations until needed or the secondary use operations cease for the season.
Several arterial or collector status streets are designated as Snow Emergency Routes, and streets located near essential public service providers are designated Special Facility Routes. Snow Emergency Routes and Special Facility Routes are shown in Appendix A.
The Public Works Department has the primary responsibility for removing snow and ice from city streets and sidewalks. The Public Works Department has three (3) full-time personnel, plus one (1) part-time employee assigned to its winter maintenance operations. During major snowstorms the City also utilizes private contractors who are called out and directed by the Public Works Supervisor to haul snow.
The City uses sand as an abrasive and is applied to the road to improve traction. Salt is used as a de-icing and anti-icing agent. Prior to the onset of freezing weather, the City loads all truck spreaders with a salt/sand mixture. In the future, the City is evaluating salt/sand storage options in order to have an average annual supply on-hand. Unless weather conditions require a different approach, streets are treated with a mixture of sand and salt. The mixture is maintained at a minimum of one-part salt to six parts sand. The mixture is applied to the center of the roadway where traffic can work the mix traveling either way. The mixture, in conjunction with traffic action, creates a watery brine melting snow and/or ice, and resisting snow and ice packing on the roadway. The road crown further assists with the spreading of the brine mixture. The sand/salt mixture is only effective to approximately 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Public Works Department monitors the National Weather Service website (http://www.crh.noaa.gov/ifps) for weather forecasts and advisories and monitors the NDDOT website (http://dotrwis.dot.state.nd.us/scanweb/) for real-time weather conditions and pavement temperatures.
PLOW ROUTE PRIORITIES:
The Public Works Department must assign priorities for winter maintenance activities to maximize the effectiveness of their efforts for the motoring public. Streets are prioritized for snow removal and ice control as follows: 1. Emergency Routes 2. Special Facility Routes 3. Streets and Avenues, including School Areas and Bus Routes 4. Sidewalks adjacent to City owned property ROADS NOT
RECEIVING WINTER MAINTENANCE BY THE CITY:
The City provides winter maintenance for all streets within its corporate limits, with the following exceptions: 1. County Road 17 2. County Road 14 (100th Ave.) 3. County Road 6 (76th Ave. W. of CR 17) 4. Private Streets and Roads a. Streets located in mobile home parks; b. Streets located on School District Property; c. Streets and alleys located in vacated ROW. 5. Unaccepted streets, whether located in or out of ROW 6. Streets in City Parks
SNOW EMERGENCY OPERATIONS:
Snow Emergency Declaration: • During snow storms forecasted to have a duration of 2 days or more, and snow fall greater than 12”, or heavy drifting snow, the Mayor or their designee may suspend the ordinances regulating parking as provided by the City of Horace Revised Ordinances of 2003. Such suspension shall make it unlawful for vehicles to be parked on Priority Routes. No Travel Declaration: • The Cass County Sherriff’s Department with the concurrence of the Mayor or City Administrator may issue and enforce a No Travel Declaration in conjunction with or following a Declaration of Snow Emergency in the City which may or may not coincide with a state or county No Travel Declaration. • At the discretion and direction of the Mayor or City Administrator city streets may be barricaded to prevent travel by the public during No Travel Declarations. Notice to the Public: • Notice to public shall be made a minimum of 12 hours in advance of emergency parking restrictions and shall be disseminated by radio, TV, the City’s website, and in the earliest possible edition of the local newspaper. Enforcement of Emergency Parking Restrictions: • Parking restrictions for emergency snow operations shall be enforced by the Cass County Sheriff’s Department as provided by the City of Horace Revised Ordinances of 2003. Vehicles which impede or prevent snow or ice control equipment from proceeding or which are deemed a public safety hazard shall be turned over immediately to Cass County Sheriff’s Department to be tagged and towed. Priorities: • Priorities will remain as described earlier in this document, except Snow Emergency Routes will be receive additional plowing as necessary to limit snow accumulation to no more than 4” during daytime. Greater accumulations may be allowed to accumulate during the night until the next day’s shift begins. • Based on personnel availability and predicted storm duration and intensity, plowing lower priority streets may need to be deferred until later in the storm to ensure higher priority streets remain passable. Operations: • During emergency operations only, the travel lanes will be plowed. • Work Shifts: Operators will work no more than 16 hour shifts and no more than 16 hours in any 24-hour period. • Use of Contractors: Contactors may be hired to load and haul snow if necessary. • Communications with Other Agencies: The Public Works Supervisor will communicate with the State and County Highway Departments be through the LEC and/or directly with the other agency’s superintendent’s by cell phone as necessary. • If school is dismissed early due to heavy snow fall, streets near the schools will be cleared as necessary for bus activity upon request by the School Superintendent.
Snow Removal • City Parking Lots will be maintained by plowing during the winter storm. Snow will be removed, and salt and sand will be applied after the storm as determined necessary by the Public Works Supervisor. • Intersections: Snow from intersections will be cleared as necessary to provide adequate sight distance. Intersections on arterials and collectors will be priority, followed by intersections in vicinity of the schools. • Cul-de-sacs bulbs will have snow cleared and hauled out when space for snow storage becomes inadequate for subsequent snow plowing operations. Sanding: • All signalized and stop controlled intersections and curves on arterial and collector streets will be sanded daily (as needed) after a storm and usually daily during the winter when ice and snow is present on the pavement. • As conditions warrant, yield controlled intersections and curves on local streets will be sanded. • Generally, a salt/sand mixture will be applied. When temperatures are below zero sanding may become less ineffective because it will not stick in place and is swept aside by traffic. Cutting and Widening: • Consideration will be given to beginning snow removal operations to prevent or minimize the accumulation of packed snow which may cause rutting. • Snow banks resulting from the previous accumulations will be pushed back, or shelved, to make space for future snow storms as the Public Works Supervisor determines necessary. • Packed snow and ice that results in heavy rutting or irregularities will be cut with motor graders. • Cutting & Widening Priorities will be the same as Plow Route Priorities. Alley widening will immediately follow street widening.
Property owners are responsible for snow removal around hydrants after streets and sidewalks are completed. Hydrants are marked with flexible, high-visibility wands so they may be easily located by the Public Works Department.
SIDEWALK SNOW REMOVAL:
The City removes snow only from sidewalks abutting City owned parcels. Sidewalk snow clearance will not begin until all other snow removal operations are in progress and/or complete. If there are insufficient personnel available to conduct sidewalk snow removal operations, as well as street and road clearance, the streets and roads shall take priority.
Regular snow plowing operations on streets and avenues are completed on bus routes and near the schools before the normal bus routing and delivery begins. The School District administers the clearing of snow and winter treatment operations for the access roads, parking lots, sidewalks and other school facilities on the District’s property.
Appendix A Map of Emergency & Special Facilities Routes (coming soon)