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Winter Snow Removal Operations

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Town of Truckee  Department of Public Works - Snow Removal Operations Plan 

Click on Truckee 511 for real-time snow plow and sand truck activities. 

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The primary goal of the Town of Truckee’s Snow Removal Plan is to provide for the safe and orderly movement of emergency equipment, vehicle traffic and pedestrians throughout the community during winter months. 

With safety and efficiency being top priorities of the Department, the Town Police Department enforces a winter parking ban effective from November 1st through April 30th of each year.  This ban prohibits parking in or on the Town roads and rights-of-way.  The purpose of this winter parking ban is to allow winter maintenance crews unobstructed snow removal and ice control routes. The parking ban is designed to enhance safety and to maintain the effectiveness of the department’s efforts.

During the winter months, the Department of Public Works will monitor the weather and street conditions daily.  Storm conditions will vary due to temperature, wind, snow moisture content and snowfall amounts. As storm conditions vary, so will the response of the Public Works Department to changing conditions.  Snow accumulations on the roadways of 4 inches or greater are plowed from the roadway.  Smaller events that produce less than 4 inches of accumulation may or may not be plowed based on conditions.  The decision to plow or not is placed in the hands of Public Works supervision.  When determining whether to plow or not to plow, Public Works supervision will make a professional judgment based on road conditions, traffic volume, temperatures and forecasts.

The Public Works Department provides several avenues in which the community can receive up-to-date snow removal information affecting their neighborhood.  GPS tracking of all snow removal equipment is provided via the Town's website. During significant snow events, the Town staffs a Snow Removal Hotline.  This Hotline allows for direct communication between the community and the Public Works Department. 

The following outlines general operating procedures regarding the Town of Truckee Department of Public Works snow removal operation.  In the event of staffing issues, equipment failure, extreme snowfall or other unanticipated events, deviation from these standards may be appropriate at the discretion of the Public Works Director, Street Maintenance Manager or the Street Maintenance Supervisors.

Staffing:  The Public Works Department is led by the Public Works Director and Street Maintenance Manager who oversees three Street Maintenance Supervisors and three Senior Street Maintenance Workers.  Street Maintenance Supervisors in conjunction with Senior Street Maintenance Workers oversee 11 regular full-time equipment operators along with 18 winter seasonal equipment operators.  Winter snow removal operation crews are broken down into three workgroups: Day Plow operations, Night Plow operations, and Sand Truck operations.  Each workgroup is led by a Supervisor.  Shifts are staggered to accommodate a 7 day a week, 24 hour per day coverage. During non-storm periods, crews maintain their winter schedules and provide maintenance to the roadways and their supporting infrastructure.  Road maintenance options are limited during the winter months due to ambient temperatures needed for many maintenance functions.  However, road crews are kept productive performing a variety of facility and equipment maintenance duties.  All department personnel are available for snow and ice control operations as conditions warrant.  The Town may utilize contract services to assist with the snow removal operations as necessary. 

Service Methods:  Snow removal operations are dispatched from the Town Public Service Center located at 10969 Stevens Lane, and the Tahoe Donner Shop located at 14528 Northwoods Blvd.  During a storm event, day plow routes begin operation at 6:00 AM and night plow routes begin at 6:00 PM.  Day sand route operations begin at 4:00 AM and night sand route operations begin at 4:00 PM.  Snow removal crews will work an 8 to 12-hour shift as needed.

Public Works has separated the Town into 4 service areas; Main Arterials/School Bus Routes, Residential Streets, Town Maintained Parking, Maintained Trails and Sidewalks.  As the four service areas have different needs, snow removal methods will vary from service area to service area.  Broad service guidelines for each area are as follows:

Sand Routes - Main Arterials and Bus Routes:  Sand routes are maintained by two six-person crews to accommodate day and night operations.  Shifts begin at 4:00 AM and 4:00 PM and will run 8 – 12 hours as dictated by weather conditions.  In general, 12-hour shifts will occur during snow events.  During non-snow events, shifts generally operate for 8 hours.  Sand routes are serviced by a combination of sand trucks, graders and a brine truck.  Sand and brine are only applied to main arterials and bus routes.  The use of sand is limited to hills, curbs, intersections and traditionally icy areas.  The application of sand is done sparingly as to not adversely affect Town infrastructure, water quality, and the environment.  Graders are used on an as-needed basis for snowpack removal on main arterials and bus routes as these routes are the most heavily traveled and accumulate more pack than residential streets.   Brine trucks operate exclusively on sand routes in traditionally icy and high traffic volume areas. Brine is primarily applied on designated roadways prior to forecast snow events.

During snow events, Sand routes are plowed continually.  Sand routes are broken out into four areas:

  1. Town
  2. Tahoe Donner
  3. Glenshire
  4. Prosser

 Residential Streets:  Residential streets are plowed after snow accumulation has occurred on street surfaces.  Loaders are used to plow residential streets to remove as much snow and ice as possible from the roadway on each pass, along with pushing back snow to create the greatest road width possible based on conditions.  Streets are primarily plowed with a three-pass method; one pass down the center and two in each travel direction.  On a wide road, a four-pass method may be used.  As roads narrow, crews may shift to a two-pass strategy.  Intersections and cul-de-sacs are completely cleared by loaders with snow being piled in designated snow pile locations.  It is the goal of the Public Works Department to plow each residential street two times over a 24 hour period during sustained snow events.

  1. Tahoe Donner High Side
  2. Tahoe Donner Inner Circle
  3. Tahoe Donner Low Side
  4. Tahoe Donner Wolfgang
  5. West End (Donner Lake – Rex Reid)
  6. Town (Old Greenwood to Armstrong Tract)
  7. Sierra Meadows
  8. Glenshire High
  9. Glenshire Low
  10. Prosser

As routes must begin and terminate linearly, plow times on residential streets in a subdivision can vary by 8 – 10 hours.  In other words, a street at the beginning of a route may be plowed at 7:00 AM with a street at the end of the same route being plowed at 4:00 PM, depending upon snow conditions.

Town Maintained Parking Areas:  Town maintained parking areas are plowed once per 24 hour period after a minimum of 2 inches of snow has accumulated.  Town maintained parking areas are plowed later during the evening and early morning hours after snow accumulation has occurred.  Should significant snowfall occur within a 12 hour period after initial plowing, Town staff will return to the parking areas for a re-plow.  Snow cleared from parking areas is piled in designated locations throughout the downtown corridor.  Snow piles are removed by Public Works crews and disposed of in offsite locations within 48 hours; weather permitting.  The Town maintained parking area also includes several residential streets adjacent to downtown parking areas.  These streets are as follows:

  1. Church Street
  2. E Street
  3. D Street
  4. School Street

 Post-Storm Cleanup:  After each significant snow event, post-storm cleanup is required.  Post-storm cleanup operations are as follows:

  1. Continued application of deicing materials and/or sweeping up of deicing materials as needed.
  2. Removal of snow from bridges and guardrails to prevent snow from melting and then refreezing on the roadway surfaces causing unsafe icy conditions.
  3. Off haul of downtown and other designated snow pile locations.
  4. Removal of snow packed down on streets using graders and loaders.
  5. Blowing of main arterials, bus routes and residential streets as needed.
  6. Clearing of snow from signs and intersections.

 Town Maintained Trails and Sidewalks:  The responsibility for snow removal from sidewalks falls under three categories: 

  1. Town maintained due to no adjacent property owners;
  2. Town maintained, but funded by adjacent property owner approved special district funding; and
  3. Owner maintained with responsibility for snow removal placed on property owner adjacent to the sidewalk. 

Town maintained trails and sidewalks are cleaned once per day after an accumulation of snow has occurred on trail and sidewalk surfaces.  Trails and sidewalks are primarily cleared with a blower, but may occasionally be plowed by small equipment.  Blowers used on trails and sidewalks are similar to equipment used by private driveway contractors.  Routes are serviced by the Facilities Maintenance Division of the Department of Public Works.  Deicing/traction material will be applied as needed on curves, hills and shaded areas. 

 The Town’s trail system is a combination of privately and publicly maintained trails.

  1. Truckee River Legacy Trail from the Truckee River Regional Park to Glenshire.
  2. Brockway Rd. Trail from the Truckee River Regional Park to Martis Valley Road.
  3. The Frischman Hollow Trail connections from the Alder Creek Middle School to the TDRPD Recreation Center.
  4. 89 South Round-Abouts Roadside Trails.
  5. 89 North Round-Abouts Roadside Trails.
  6. Pioneer Trail Round-Abouts Roadside Trails.
  7. McIver Round-About Sidewalks.
  8. Martis Valley Road Round-Abouts Sidewalks.
  9. Commercial Row Sidewalks between McIver Crossing and Spring Street.

 CONCLUSION:  Looking forward, the Public Works Department will continue to analyze its performance, encourage innovation, stress efficiency, promote training and put safety in the forefront while providing quality snow removal for the citizens of Truckee.