Monday, December 5, 2016

Village Snow Operations FAQ's

Inquiries from our residents and property owners regarding the Village’s snow removal operations are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) we receive.  Provided below are some of those questions, particularly ones we’ve received since the Winter Storm Ashley event.  We hope that having some of these answers will allow you to be more informed for future events and better understand why it is we conduct operations as we do.  As needed, staff is planning to continue to provide answers to additional FAQ’s as we get them.

Question: Does the Village call in extra staff for large snowfalls?
The Village has eight Public Works employees and seven snow plows as well as additional smaller equipment.  For small events or special ice control operations, not all employees may be deployed for operations.  However, for the majority of events that require a full and complete clearing of roadways all eight employees are dedicated to operations.  The Village does not maintain extra staffing or extra snow plows to call in just for large events.  The Village is proud to have very dedicated and experienced snow plow operators which allow us to operate in the manner we do.

Question:  Why does it sometimes take so long for my street to get plowed?
The Village clears streets based on a priority program; Priority 1 roads, Priority 2 roads, then Priority 3 and finally parking lots and trails.  The Village performs snow and ice control on over 71 miles of street, 117 dead ends and cul-de-sacs, 3.75 miles of trails, 4 parking lots and 4.5 miles of sidewalks in each winter event.  Brown County Highway Dept. is responsible for plowing and salting the County highways in Bellevue.  At times crews are rerouted to assist emergency responders to their destinations and emergency related radio communications are also monitored to ensure timely assistance.  How long it takes to clear the streets depends on each unique snowfall.  Factors such as how much snow, how wet the snow is, wind conditions, forecasted time to stop snowing, traffic and parked vehicles can all impact when operators are dispatched and time it takes.  As a general rule, all streets can be plowed in approximately 7-9 hours from when the snow stops under moderate and normal conditions.

Question: When I call the Village Office, why can’t you tell me when my road will be done?
The Village does have sophisticated GPS and mapping systems that are utilized in our operations.  While many of our operators clean their assigned zones generally in the same manner from one event to the next, this is not always the case or possible for every event.  Operator’s may be reassigned to an emergency, face slowed operations due to parking or traffic or have equipment issues.  Therefore, the Village can’t accurately provide estimates on when specific roads will be completed.  In addition, to get such information would require direct radio communication with our operators which we try to minimize as feasible for their safety and safety of the travelling public.  Overall, the Village understands how a large event can significantly disrupt travel and we ask for your patience.  Please understand we will do our best to answer questions during or after an event, but we are unable to provide timelines or re-route our operators unless there is an emergency.  If there is an emergency, 911 should be called.

Question: When there is a large snow event, why don’t they just plow one pass down a road so people can get out?
Taking a single pass down a road has been found to significantly extend the total time required to complete snow operations after an event.  When this method has been used the Village also receives a significant increase in complaints usually due to driveways that have been cleared by a homeowner to then become almost impassible when the plow does complete a full clearing.  In addition, the snow coming off of the plow blade in a large event can be quite high and a single pass through an intersection can therefore essentially create a road block within an intersection.  As necessary this method may be used to clear primary roads within a subdivision strictly for emergency purposes.

We hope this information is helpful.  Please always remember to maintain a safe distance from a snow plow of at least 200’ per State Law and give care when driving near a plow.  For more information visit the Village’s Snow & Ice Control page on the Village website which includes snow plow route maps.