City of Raleigh Ready for Winter StormsNews posted Jan. 17, 2013 - 5:30 pm
Snow Removal Plan in Place
The City of Raleigh is very much prepared for any snow or ice that falls on the Capital City this winter. City crews have already readied snow equipment, stored salt and salt brine, and made detailed plans for moving and removing snow and/or ice in case a winter storm hits Raleigh.
"The City of Raleigh will provide the best service possible to our residents during inclement weather," City Manager J. Russell Allen said. “When a winter storm arises, we will activate our emergency inclement weather plan to clear roads and bridges of snow or ice and make conditions as safe as possible for citizens. The City strives to provide the best service possible to our residents during inclement weather.” The City encourages residents who live or work in the Capital City to review their own emergency inclement weather plans.
Snow Removal Plan
The goal of the City of Raleigh’s emergency snow removal is to keep major roadways and public transit routes passable for vehicles equipped with all-weather tires, snow tires or chains, or other special equipment designed for icy road conditions.
The City uses salt brine to treat roads during wintry weather. Salt brine is a mixture of salt and water that is applied to major roads, including transit routes, prior to a predicted winter storm. The mixture dissolves snow and ice as it falls onto the pavement. The City has the ability to make and apply salt brine. Although salt brine is not a panacea for treating roads in all types of winter storms, it is a proven and successful tool that will complement the City’s other snow and ice removal strategies.
The City’s snow removal plan calls for priority one (major thoroughfares) and priority two (Capital Area Transit bus routes) to be treated with salt brine right before a predicted winter storm hits. After pretreatment with salt brine, the City will spread salt on roads and bridges as soon as snow or ice conditions are detected. Snow plowing begins when the snow depth exceeds two inches.
The City has set a priority system for bridges and roads to determine the order in which salt is spread and plowing occurs. Under this priority system, bridges will be salted first. Following bridges in the priority system will be major thoroughfares, then all Capital Area Transit (CAT) routes. After that, the City will begin clearing major residential and connector streets, then all other residential streets if snow and/or ice conditions continue.
CAT bus service will be maintained at the highest level possible as long as safety can be assured. If conditions warrant, the CAT bus service will switch to special inclement weather routes, which serve as much of the regular transit routes as possible. Additional information about CAT’s inclement weather routes can be obtained by calling 919-485-RIDE (7433) or visiting the City’s website at www.raleighnc.gov/transit.
Weather Emergency Policies
The City of Raleigh implements several weather emergency policies when unexpected weather events occur.
For thoroughfares, when the roads are not safe due to weather conditions, the City will declare a “Weather Emergency” and request drivers to stay off Raleigh’s main roads until appropriate steps can be taken. Such emergencies would include icy roads, conditions when trees have fallen and other similar occurrences. The request for citizens to stay off the streets would be made through radio and television outlets as well as emails to local employers. Employers wishing to be added to the email alert list may do so by contacting the City’s Public Affairs Department at 919-996-3100 or emailing Chris Riley. Also during declared weather emergencies, residents will be asked to limit cellular telephone calls except in the case of pressing personal needs.
The City of Raleigh also will communicate with other levels of government in Wake County and local media to coordinate weather plans. Priority will be given to helping school children get home safely.
On days when Wake County public schools are closed for the day due to inclement weather, the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department offers a program called Weather Bound for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The program hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and activities may include sports, crafts, games, computer games, movies and outdoor play. Parents should make sure their children bring a lunch, two snacks, drinks, and a change of clothing. The cost of the program is $25 for Raleigh residents and $37 for non-residents. For more information, contact any of the three participating community centers --- John Chavis Memorial Park, 919-831-6989; Green Road, 919-872-4140; or Jaycee, 919-996-6833.
The City constructed a second salt barn in 2008, located on Mount Herman Road. After an ice storm in 2006, the City determined that a second salt storage facility was needed to enhance its ability to respond to major storms. The Mount Herman Road salt barn serves the northern portion of Raleigh. The City’s other salt barn is on Dortch Street.
"The two salt barns allow us to treat our roadways more efficiently, thereby helping to ensure that the public can drive to and from their destinations safely,” the city manager said.
In preparation for inclement weather, the City has stockpiled 4,000 tons of salt for icy conditions --- 2,000 tons at both of the City’s salt barns --- and 20,000 gallons of salt brine. The City is able to produce additional salt brine as needed. The City also has 42 trucks equipped with salt spreaders and plows, three City and contract motor graders, and a variety of loaders and four-wheel drive vehicles, all available for use during inclement weather.
City mechanics check the vehicles and equipment at least once a month throughout the year and make any repairs necessary before inclement weather hits. Each City employee involved in street clearing knows their job and is prepared to go to work as soon as inclement weather threatens.
The City Manager’s Office works closely with all City departments to ensure the City’s emergency inclement weather plan is being coordinated. Heavy equipment vehicle operators from the Public Works, Public Utilities, and Parks and Recreation departments will be doing the actual salting and plowing work as well as some other snow clearing. But many departments are part of the emergency inclement weather plan, including Police, the Emergency Communications Center, Community Services, Inspections, Information Technology, and Public Affairs. When inclement weather hits, it takes a concentrated and combined effort to make sure the City serves its residents in a timely and effective manner.
“Everyone --- our departments and employees --- team up together to get streets cleared as quickly as possible,” Mr. Allen said. “We also make sure that emergency services are available and active no matter what, and that our citizens are kept informed about what is happening at all times.”
Information to the Public
One major part of the inclement weather plan is communications -- getting timely information to the public as it is needed. Working with the City Manager’s Office, the Public Works Department’s Transportation Field Services Division, the Police Department and CAT bus dispatchers, the City of Raleigh Public Affairs Department will provide updated information on current conditions and the City’s emergency response to the news media as quickly as possible. The City of Raleigh also provides inclement weather information on Cable Channel 11 (RTN 11), the City government access station; Cable Channel 22 (RTN 22), the City’s informational station; and here on the website. Up-to-date information can also be found on the City's twitter and facebook page.
Citizens should never call 9-1-1 to get information on weather conditions or road conditions. Only call 9-1-1 for real emergencies.
Anyone wishing more information about the City’s inclement weather plan or preparations for winter storms should call the City of Raleigh Public Affairs Department at 919-996-3100.
For more information, contact
- Chris Riley, Public Affairs Department, 919-996-3100