MyRaleigh

Raleigh Prepared to Treat, Plow Roads

News posted Jan. 06, 2017 - 4:00 pm
  • salt reserves
  • snow plow

The City of Raleigh follows a priority system for treating and plowing roads and bridges in the Capital City when a winter storm hits. Crews are ready to keep streets clear as the first major winter storm of the year bears down on Raleigh.

Some of Raleigh’s roads are maintained by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), which has yellow trucks. But the vast majority fall under the care of the City’s Transportation Department, which operates white trucks. There are 1,087 miles of City-maintained streets in Raleigh. Additionally, City crews provide snow removal on some NCDOT-owned streets that are generally inside the Beltline, including Glenwood Avenue, Wade Avenue, New Bern Avenue, Capital Boulevard, Western Boulevard and South Saunders Street.

The goal of the City’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’s snow removal plan calls for priority one (major thoroughfares) and priority two (GoRaleigh bus routes) to be treated with salt brine right before a predicted winter storm hits. For this current winter storm, the City began salt brine pretreatment on Thursday.

After pretreatment with salt brine, City crews spread salt on roads and bridges as soon as snow or ice conditions are detected. Snow plowing begins when measurable snow accumulation occurs.

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, major thoroughfares, bridges, bus routes and hospitals are taken care of first. If these streets remain clear, the focus of City crews turns to treating major connector streets in residential areas and then to smaller neighborhood streets. However because of a lack of resources, the City generally has been unable to treat the residential connector roads and smaller neighborhood streets. Historically in Raleigh, rising temperatures have melted much of the snow and ice in these areas before crews reach them, causing street conditions in neighborhoods to improve significantly.

In addition to treating roads and bridges, City Transportation Department crews spend a great deal of time assisting with automobile accidents following winter storms. This takes them away from effectively salting and/or plowing roads. This is another reason motorists are asked to stay off the roads immediately after a winter storm and to plan ahead before a storm strikes to avoid traveling.

The City of Raleigh has 40 trucks equipped with salt spreaders and plows. Crews generally work 12-hour shifts for snow removal. The City has 10,000 gallons of salt brine, with the capacity to produce an additional 120,000 gallons over an eight-hour period. Also in storage is 4,000 tons of salt. The City can acquire an additional 3,000 tons of salt as needed.

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