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    Department of Public Works

    Snow Removal

    Snow Routes
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    DPW Snow Information  - 2011

    The goal of the Department of Public Works’ Snow Program is to provide safe, efficient snow clearing operations using effective plowing and material usage strategies

    The Department of Public Works is responsible for ensuring that the City’s 226 miles of road are safe and passable.  DPW operates snow removal efforts on a 24-hour schedule to get the roads open as quickly as possible.

    The DPW Garage begins preparing the snow fleet in October of each year. Each truck is serviced, outfitted with plows, and checked to ensure that their material conveyors and spreaders are functioning properly.   The Finance Section puts materials contracts in place to ensure that there are sufficient supplies well in advance of any wintry weather.  Public Works crews place sand barrels are near schools and firehouse for local use, are provided plow training and run their routes in advance of snow.


    1. The City’s Road network is divided up as follows:
      1. 22 Normal Snow Routes.  Each route is approximately 10 miles long and takes anywhere from three to six hours to plow, depending on the type of the storm.
      2. 6 narrow routes that overlap the Normal Routes.
      3. 7 arterial routes
    2. Hills and intersections that require special attention are also identified and are among the first locations addressed in winter operations.
    3. DPW, along with Parks and the Town Green Special Taxation District, clear sidewalks downtown.
    4. DPW also performs plowing operations for the Housing Authority of New Haven.


    • 30 Streets Division employees are DPW’s first responders.  Streets Division employees are on standby for snow events for 12 weeks starting December 20, 2010.  Employees perform treatments before events, plow during events and also load materials for all City and Contractor vehicles.
    • 37 Refuse Division employees perform overnight snow plowing for the City in advance of their refuse Collection routes. They provide a valuable service to the City and help to ensure that they can get to their routes the following morning.
    • DPW Supervisors, Mechanics and Inspection personnel work around the clock to ensure that routes are covered, equipment is in good repair and concerns addressed.
    • DPW’s Financial and Clerical staffs ensure that all expenses are appropriate and accounted for, that personnel matters are addressed and that materials and equipment are available.
    • Other departments make significant contributions during snow events as well.  Parks provides xx drivers and operators. The Fire Department provides xx drivers, and LCI provides xx drivers.  These individuals provide service outside of their normal work hours to ensure safe roadways for the citizens.
    • DPW also utilizes contractors to assist as needed, particularly in maintaining clear arterials within the City.


    1. DPW’s snow fleet is comprised of
      1. 28 snow plow vehicles
      2. 3 payloaders
      3. Small snow equipment (sidewalk plows, snow throwers, etc)
      4. Refuse truck plows for extreme snowfalls
    2. Parks, the Board of Education and LCI also have snow plow equipment for shared use if necessary.
    3. DPW has a contractor fleet of 13 trucks at our disposal in the event a storm warrants their use.

    DPW uses a number of chemicals to provide the most appropriate treatment based on the weather conditions.

    1. Sand provides traction in icy conditions.
    2. Salt (Untreated Salt – Sodium Chloride) provides de-icing up to 15 F
    3. Clearlane (treated solid Magnesium Chloride) provides anti-icing and de-icing up to 5 F.  Fewer environmental impacts than Sodium Chloride.
    4. Ice- B Gone (treated liquid magnesium chloride) provides anti-icing up to 5 F. Can be used to treat Salt or applied directly on roadways.


    1. Advance weather reports to plan out treatment strategies in advance of storms so that roadway accumulation and impact on residents is kept to a minimum.
    2. GPS systems to identify truck locations and track the Department’s performance during and after storm events.

    Levels of Service
    DPW’s goal is to get the City to normal operations as quickly as possible. However, time is still required to meet this goal.   The City defines streets as passable, which means that while the road may still be snow packed, at least one travel lane is accessible for a front wheel drive car, and clear, which means bare pavement or all travel lanes open. 

    1. During a snow of up to 4 inches, major roads should be clear within 8 hours after the END of the storm and all roads should be clear within 24 hours.
    2. During a snow of 10 or more inches, major roads should be clear within 24 hours after the END of the storm and all roads should be clear within 48 hours.
    3. Icy Roads are highly dependent on temperature and will be addressed with the appropriate materials for the given conditions.

    Parking Bans

    1. Instituted if conditions require cars to be removed from roadways. 
    2. Typically in Downtown and along major arterials. 
    3. During parking bans, vehicles within 25 feet of intersections will be ticketed and towed.  Parking within 25 feet of intersection is a violation and makes plowing operations very difficult.

    What can Citizens do to help the Snow Removal Efforts?

    • DO keep your cars parked off the street if possible. If not, try to park all vehicles on the same side of the street.
    • DO remove snow and ice from your walkways.  Not only is this the right thing to do, it may save you from a citation.
    • DO place the snow from your sidewalks, driveways and parking spaces onto your property or you risk having them covered when the plows come by.  DPW asks for residents to be patient as we make multiple passes to get the roads clear.
    • DO stay off the roads if possible. Fewer cars mean that our drivers can plow without additional hazards.  If you do go out, keep a safe distance from the City’s plows
    • DO NOT brush snow from cars into the street.
    • DO NOT shovel snow from driveways or sidewalks into the street.
    • Be aware that residents are responsible for the actions of their contractors.


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