Maintaining safe driving conditions during the winter months is a priority for the Public Works Department. Snow removal and plowing are prioritized by a three-tiered system: ice control routes, secondary plow routes, and residential plow areas. Completion of plowing is dependent on snow consistency and accumulation.
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Ice Control Routes (First Priority)
The city is divided into 12 ice control routes which represent major thoroughfares essential to emergency transportation.
- 86 miles of streets (about 7.2 miles per route)
- Snowplow with salt spreader assigned to each route
- Deicing and plowing commence when streets become slippery
- Goal: Keep major roads, hills, and bridges open during snowfall, ultimately achieving bare pavement
Secondary Plow Routes (Second Priority)
Secondary plow routes are part of the ice control operations unless a full residential plow operation is initiated. If a full residential plow operation is initiated, the secondary streets will be plowed at that time. Secondary streets provide access to schools, churches, businesses, and commercial areas that attract higher volumes of traffic.
- 63 miles of streets
- Plowing and sanding of secondary routes undertaken for most snowfalls accumulating more than 1/2 inch
- Goal: Keep streets open for travel; compacted snow an acceptable driving surface.
Residential Plow Routes (Third Priority)
The city is divided into 24 residential plow areas.
- 195 miles of streets (about 8.2 miles per area)
- Snowplow or motor grader assigned to each area
- Starting points for plowing alternate throughout the winter
- Plowing initiated after 3 inches or more accumulation
- Goal: Plowing completed 10-12 hours after snow has stopped falling; compacted snow expected driving surface. Sand applied to hills, intersections, and curves for traction.
- Alleys. The City plows 14 alleys that serve as front door access to homes and is the primary method used for mail delivery. The remaining 255 blocks of alleys are the responsibility of the adjoining property owners.
- Parking Lots. City-owned lots typically are cleared at night after a full plow operation has been completed.
- Sidewalks. Sidewalks adjacent to City-owned property are cleaned by City crews the day following completion of a plowing operation, except Sundays. Remaining sidewalks are the responsibility of adjoining property owners and should be cleared of snow and ice within 24 hours after a snowfall (Section 13.20 of City Code of Ordinances).
- Paths. The Parks Division plows, salts, and maintains the 25 miles of multi-use paths throughout the city.
Alternate Side Calendar Clean-up Plowing
Alternate-side/calendar parking is in effect from midnight-7 a.m. Nov. 1-May 1. Vehicles are required to park on the side of streets with odd-numbered addresses on odd-number dates, and on the opposite side of the street on even dates. Street crews will begin clean-up plowing of residential streets beginning at midnight following completion of a full residential plowing. The opposite side of the street typically will be cleared the following night.
Anti-Icing and Use of Salt Brine
This is the second winter the City of Eau Claire will be including salt brine as part of its snow and ice control program. Salt brine is an environmentally safe liquid solution consisting of water and dissolved salt. Salt brine is applied to pavement prior to receiving precipitation, preventing it from freezing and bonding to the pavement.
A salt brine solution also will be added to rock salt during ice control operations on primary ice control routes to speed melting and achieving bare pavement.
Using salt brine as an anti-icing and pre-wetting agent has been found to be a cost-effective way to treat city streets, provide a safer driving surface, and reduce the amount of rock salt needed to melt ice and snow. Salt brine is expected to reduce City rock salt use by 20 percent.
Sidewalks must be kept reasonably free of snow and ice and should be cleared within 24 hours following a snowfall or the development of icy conditions. Icy or snow-covered sidewalks can be reported to Street Maintenance at 839-4963. Property owners will be notified and, if the walks are not cleared, the owner will be issued a citation and the City will clean the sidewalk and bill the property owner.
Sand for slippery sidewalks can be picked up free of charge at the Central Maintenance Facility, 911 Forest Street. The sand is kept outside of the gated area and can be picked up anytime at your convenience. Bring your own container and a shovel. Each residence is limited to a 5-gallon pail.
Frequently Asked Questions
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