By 1808Delaware

Winter in Delaware brings not just blankets of snow but also challenges in maintaining road safety and accessibility. The City of Delaware Public Works Department plays a crucial role in ensuring that the over 324 miles of roadways, including local streets and state routes, remain navigable during the snowy season.

The Art of Snow and Ice Management

The task of keeping roads clear during winter is a meticulous process that involves several steps. The department’s strategy includes pre-treatment of road surfaces with brine, plowing, and salting. The brine application is a preemptive measure to prevent snow and ice from adhering to the roads, making them easier to clear. The effectiveness of this method is significant, as it uses only 30-50% of the salt amount typically required for road salting.

Prioritizing Road Safety

When a winter storm hits, the Public Works Department categorizes streets into three priority levels based on traffic volume and speed limits. Priority 1 and 2 routes, which include the busiest streets, receive the earliest attention. The department’s commitment to efficiency is evident in their round-the-clock operations during major storms, deploying up to 10 plow trucks per shift. However, residents should note that it can take 24 to 48 hours to clear all streets, depending on the snowfall’s severity.

Neighborhood Streets and Specialized Equipment

Residential streets, categorized as Priority 3, are attended to after the main routes. These areas are generally cleared in winter storms with over three inches of snow. The use of smaller, more maneuverable 4×4 trucks in cul-de-sacs enhances efficiency and safety in these confined spaces. Additionally, the Parks and Natural Resources Department handles the clearing of public bike ways, pedestrian paths, and parking lots using specialized equipment.

Community Guidelines for Winter Weather

The Public Works Department also emphasizes the role of residents in ensuring effective snow removal and road safety:

  • Avoid passing plow trucks actively clearing the roads.
  • Do not shovel or blow snow from driveways and sidewalks onto the street.
  • Ensure mailbox placement provides clearance for snow plows.
  • Parking vehicles in driveways, not on the street, facilitates better snow removal.
  • Protect pets from potential frostbite by avoiding puddles on treated roads in extreme cold.

Reporting Issues and Sidewalk Maintenance

Residents encountering problems with snow and ice management can reach out to the department at 740-203-1810 or via email. Furthermore, property owners are responsible for keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice, as mandated by the City of Delaware ordinance 521.06. Violations can be reported to Code Enforcement.


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