Saturday, December 21st marks the first official day of winter, but we have already seen some snow. We are expecting heavier showers this month...
“Your safety is our first priority and our street crew works hard to address each unique storm as they come,” City Manager Alan Nygaard said. “Understanding the process and what you can do to stay safe on the roads is important.”
BEFORE THE SNOWSTORM OCCURS:
Once a snow event is predicted in the forecast, the initial response of our street crew could be to lay down deicer on priority one roads in advance of the storm, but that may not be the first action and here’s why:
Laying down deicer before a snow storm hits helps to initiate the melting process immediately upon the snow’s arrival, giving our crew time to respond to the event. It can also inhibit the snow’s ability to create a bond to the pavement surface.
The determining factor as to whether or not anti-icing operations should occur depends largely on the makeup of the storm. For example, if rain is predicted prior to snowfall the crew will not lay down deicer because it cannot melt snow from road surfaces if it has been washed away by rain.
Other factors that can play a roll include:
- How much advanced warning we have that a storm will occur. If the snowstorm occurs faster than it is forecasted, it will take our crews time to prep the equipment and hit the road.
- The forecast’s percentage of likelihood that the event will occur. If it is a low percentage of likelihood that we will even see a storm, crews may not lay down deicer.
Deicer applications begin on Bryden Canyon Road and Thain Grade, moving on to remaining major and minor grades, traffic signals, major curves, schools, medical centers and remaining priority one roads. Operations then move on to priority two and three roads. View the priority map.
ONCE THE SNOWSTORM BEGINS:
When snow accumulation on road surfaces begins, the use of liquid deicer is suspended and the crew’s priority then becomes providing traction for vehicles through the application of abrasive aggregates (granular materials such as sand, gravel, or crushed stone) and start plowing.
Progression of this work is accomplished in the same order, or priority, as deicer operations; beginning back at Bryden Canyon Road and Thain Grade, moving on to remaining major and minor grades, traffic signals, major curves, schools, medical centers, and remaining priority one roads. Operations then move on to priority two and three roads. What this means is that even though we haven’t made it through the entire priority list with deicer, the crew moves back to Bryden Canyon Road and the process starts over again because the weather has changed, therefore the treatment process changes.
CONTINUED EFFORTS THROUGHOUT THE SNOWSTORM:
Due to the change in Lewiston’s typical snow event severity and accumulations, the Public Works Department continues to employ the use of dry sodium chloride (salt) as part of its snow removal operations. This product is used to help breakup compact snow and ice in limited areas. Application occurs after traction is restored and plowing has been completed. It’s applied sparingly on major grades, a limited number of major corridors, traffic signals, near stop signs and on other problem areas. Therefore this solution doesn’t find its way onto every road surface.
“It’s important to understand that this is only a general description of how snow removal operations progress,” Street Maintenance Manager Keith Bingman said. “Each event is different, presenting its own unique challenges that will force our crew to make adjustments in the field to meet those situations. Drifting, flooding, equipment breakdowns, storm duration and intensity, or accumulative effect of a series of storms are just a few examples of circumstances that can dictate either operations themselves or the amount of time it takes to reach each street within the City. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”
VIEW THE WINTER STORM RESPONSE POLICY, PLAN AND MAP.