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Nov 06

What You Need to Know About Snow Removal

Posted on November 6, 2017 at 5:27 PM by Danielle Rogers

Winter Snow

Preparing for cold weather and coping with the challenges of Iowa winters is always a challenge. Here are some key pieces of information to help City of Newton residents prepare.

Snow Removal Practice & Goals

City snow removal crews begin plowing operations when snow accumulation reaches 2”. Plowing operations may begin after about an inch of accumulation for snow events during normal working hours. The goal of the City of Newton is to maintain city streets during winter to acceptable winter driving conditions. The goals are different based on priority of the street as outlined below. 
  • Priority #1 Streets - The goal is to keep Priority #1 streets with minimal accumulation of snow & ice during the event and to return to bare pavement as soon as possible. This will most likely require multiple passes throughout the duration of the storm and after the snowfall has stopped.
  • Priority #2 Streets - The goal is to have Priority #2 streets plowed and sanded before school starts and ends for the day, and before the majority of people have to commute to and from work. These goals may change, depending on what time a snow event starts and stops, and if crews are able to keep the Priority #1 streets at an acceptable level at that time.
  • Priority #3 Streets - The goal is to plow Priority #3 streets, including sanding the hills and intersections, one time within 24 hours after the snow stops falling (typically completed within 12 hours for most storms). The intent is not to achieve bare pavement, but rather make the street passable throughout the winter. Priority #3 streets may not be plowed when there is less than 2 inches of accumulation. This is dependent on ground temperature, air temperature, wind conditions, and forecasts.
  • Priority #4 Streets - The goal is to plow Priority #4 streets, including sanding the hills and intersections, one time within 48 hours after the snow stops falling. Gravel roads typically will not be sanded. The goal is not to achieve bare pavement, but rather make passable throughout the winter. Priority #4 streets may not be plowed when there is less than 3 inches of accumulation. This is dependent on ground temperature, air temperature, wind conditions, and forecasts.
  • Downtown Snow Removal District - Plowing the streets in the Downtown Snow Removal District is done differently due to the need for daytime parking and the lack of a parking strip along many streets to store the snow. The snow is plowed along the traveled portion of the streets and hauled away or plowed to back of curb during the nights after the storm. The goal on these streets is to plow the travel portions of the street as part of Priority #1 streets.
Abrasives & Chemicals Used in Snow Removal Operations
Sand and salt are not used for the same purpose. Sand is used for traction and salt is used for melting snow or ice. Because some salt is mixed with the sand, melting of snow and ice may occur where sand was applied. Salt is the most effective material used during most snowstorms, and in some cases is sprayed on the streets in the form of salt brine. There are many variables to consider when deciding what abrasive and/or chemicals, if any, to use on the streets. 

Clean Up Operations After a Storm
The following tasks are performed after a storm. These tasks are listed in order of importance.
  • Hauling snow from the Downtown Snow Removal District
  • Hauling and pushing snow from the shoulders on rural sections of roads, from parking lots, cul-de-sacs, and dead ends
  • Snow cleanup from bridges and intersections
  • Pushing back drifted areas and making room for additional snow accumulation
  • Replenishing material supplies and maintenance/repair to snow removal equipment
  • Repairing damage to infrastructure signs, potholes, mailboxes and sod repair 
Snow Removal Parking Restrictions
Parking is prohibited in the Downtown Snow Removal District between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. only when hauling operations are declared and the downtown snow removal district line (641) 792-0411 has been activated. Declaration must be made by 7 p.m. the evening of hauling operation.

On street parking, except in the Downtown Snow Removal District, is prohibited when the Snow Plowing Operations are declared. Snow plowing operations will be declared at 2” of accumulation, measured at the Public Works building. Ticketing of vehicles parked on city streets, except in the Downtown Snow Removal District, will begin when Snow Plowing Operations are declared. Vehicles may be parked on the street before the Snow Plowing Operations are over if the snowfall has stopped and the street has been plowed full width.