O'Fallon Progress

When it snows, whose street gets cleared first? Here’s how O’Fallon prioritizes its plowing.

Herb Roach
Herb Roach

I hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday. I always enjoying spending time with my family and friends, and the opportunity to step back and give thanks.

In other news, the illuminated holiday parade on Saturday night was a great success! It was exciting to see the streets of downtown O’Fallon lined with people — all excited to help ring in the holiday season. I am confident the success of this event will carry over to future events.

 

The passing of Thanksgiving and the start of December also means that cold and wintry weather is just around the corner. I want to take a moment to explain the city’s snow and ice removal procedures as well as providing a few safety tips to follow when driving in winter weather. By following these simple safety tips, O’Fallon residents will arrive at their holiday destinations safe and sound.

The goal of the city of O’Fallon Public Works Department is to provide snow and ice control in a timely and cost-efficient manner. During ice or snow conditions, the Public Works Department’s Operations Group applies de-icer and plows snow. There are two phases for ice control and snow plowing:

▪ when snow or ice conditions exist, salt is applied to the pavement based on public safety needs; and

▪ depending on the pavement conditions and forecast, snow plowing will typically commence when over two inches of snow accumulates. It is our standard practice to avoid salting roads in newer subdivisions or recently re-constructed roads as repeated salting of new concrete leads to rapid deterioration of that material.

Conditions such as blowing snow, continual freezing rain, snowfall accumulation, or the need to assist with high priority state and township roadways can cause variations for each snow and ice event. Accordingly, some streets or classes of streets may not be treated immediately, such as cul-de-sacs or low volume through streets. In some cases, Public Works’ crews may only focus on a subset of priority areas such as known problem spots or major intersections on snow routes. A major part of snow and ice removal goals are set to provide emergency services. General travel, commerce, and individual convenience issues take a lower priority. An ongoing assessment is made during each snow and ice removal operation regarding when to discontinue removal operations and operations may be curtailed based upon weather forecast or other factors prior to treating every location within a priority group.

The O’Fallon snow route map can be viewed here.

Priority rankings are as follows:

▪ Emergency vehicle access to designated Snow Routes;

▪ “Snow Emergency Routes” as adopted by the City Council;

▪ Roadway surfaces serving city, township, county, state and federal facilities ;

▪ Roadway surfaces serving schools;

▪ Major intersections;

▪ Secondary arterial connectors;

▪ Subdivision through streets; then

▪ Cul-de-sacs.

Residents can help our Public Works crews clear the streets more quickly by practicing a few simple suggestions:

▪ Don’t drive if you don’t have to.

▪ Drive safely and have appropriate tires on your vehicle. Do not drive until you have properly cleared windows of obstructions, and replaced worn windshield wipers.

▪ Park your car off-street whenever you can. During snowfall or when snow is predicted, it is especially important to remove all vehicles from the street to allow the operation of snow removal equipment. If you live on a “Snow Emergency Route” you are not allowed to park your vehicle on the street during a snow storm.

▪ Make sure that basketball goals and other obstructions such as trash cans are not placed in or adjacent to the street. They pose a hazard to snow plowing crews and to the traveling public.

▪ Do not push or place snow in front of a neighbor’s property or on top of storm drains.

▪ Do not plow snow into travel lanes or onto sidewalks or into street gutters. It is helpful if you can keep your street gutter clean for drainage; don’t cause ponding of snow melt that can turn into ice.

▪ Clean snow from around fire hydrants and be careful you do not block the hydrants when you shovel snow.

Owners of private parking lots are responsible for removing their own snow. Do not expect City crews to pick up piles of snow pushed onto the street from private parking lots. The snow pile could remain for an extended period causing potential safety hazards and the possibility of liability for the property owner.

Property owners are responsible for clearing their driveway approaches and around mailboxes. Snow plowing operations may inconvenience property owners when snow is plowed in front of driveways or by mailboxes. However, we cannot respond to requests to clear driveways or mailboxes — our priority is keeping roads open for emergency service providers. However, residents with medical conditions should notify City Hall if they need any emergency assistance.

Be patient; snow removal takes time. It is possible that not every street in the city will get plowed with every snowfall.

The safety of our residents and their loved ones is very important to me and by working together we can make sure that everyone remains safe and sound during the winter season.

As residents of O’Fallon, you should always be able to reach out to your elected officials and ask questions about what is happening in O’Fallon. Having open communications is important to me and something I care very deeply about. Thank you for reading, and please remember, my door is always open.

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