everything you ever wanted to know about snow removal

As I write this, the snow is falling and plows are out making our streets safe. This is my first winter as an alderman, and I’ve heard from a couple of neighbors with concerns about how or when their street is plowed. These concerns reminded me of an episode of the Mayor’s Corner from 2011. In this episode, the mayor interviewed Al Luberda, our street superintendent. The interview is 48 minutes, and they spent the entire time talking about snow removal. Al answered literally dozens of questions from the mayor.

So I contacted Kevin Clark, the city’s Video Production and Marketing Coordinator, and I asked him to see if he could scrounge up that video and put it on YouTube. He did that this week.

So here’s the video. If you have any questions or concerns at all about snow removal in the city of De Pere, I beg you, PLEASE take 48 minutes out of your day to watch this before you contact your alderman or city staff.

Here are just some of the questions answered in this video:

  • 2:20 When do we plow the streets?1
  • 2:50 What does city staff do to plan for a snow storm?
  • 3:30 How does pre-treating streets work?
  • 7:40 How much do we pay for salt?
  • 7:50 Do we make our own salt brine?
  • 9:15 How do we determine what is plowed and what equipment is used?
  • 9:50 Is plowing done only by street department employees?
  • 10:10 How long can a driver be out on the road plowing at one time?
  • 12:35 How do you determine the order in which the streets are plowed? (primary/secondary roads)
  • 13:20 How do I know if my street is primary or secondary?
  • 14:00 Do bus routes determine how or when we plow?
  • 14:10 Do we do any special plowing for emergency vehicles? Does this affect the regular route plowing?
  • 15:20 How many miles do we plow?
  • 15:50 How much money is budgeted for snow removal?
  • 18:15 How much equipment does the city have for plowing streets?
  • 18:35 How long does it take to plow the entire city? How does this compare to other communities?
  • 21:05 What’s a snow emergency?
  • 22:40 How do you handle removing large snow banks?
  • 24:20 How soon after the snow storm do you start plowing?
  • 25:15 Where do you haul the snow to?
  • 25:40 What happens when a snow plow hits a mailbox?
  • 26:40 What does the plow driver do if there’s a car in the street?
  • 27:30 What happens if a plow scrapes the grass?
  • 27:55 Why doesn’t the plow make one pass down the street and then come back and do it later?
  • 28:50 I live in a culdesac; why does the plow driver always leave the snow in my yard instead of my neighbor’s?
  • 30:00 Why can’t the plow driver lift the blade in front of my driveway?
  • 31:50 Are there streets in the city that we don’t plow?
  • 32:45 Do you remove snow from large piles in residential areas?
  • 33:00 Do I have to remove snow around the fire hidrant in front of my house?
  • 33:50 Why do city parks, parking lots and alleys sometimes get plowed before streets?
  • 35:15 Why is my street always plowed last?
  • 36:30 Do the plow routes always have the same driver? (training)
  • 38:35 Why do some streets get plowed multiple times, and others only once?
  • 39:10 Why does a plow go down my street without actually plowing?
  • 39:25 What can citizens do to help the plow drivers?
  • 40:45 After it snows, how long do I have to shovel my sidewalk? What happens if I don’t shovel it?
  • 43:15 What kind of impact does the winter have on other city departments?