Snow Removal

Snow Removal During Snow Events

During a snow event, clearing main roads is a priority.  After main roads have been cleared, secondary roads and subdivisions are addressed.  Alleys are cleared during the course of these sweeps, as crews are able.

One sweep of the city may take three to six hours, depending on the snowfall event, when the snowfall hits, and how heavy the snowfall is.  Most of the main roads can be cleared in approximately 3 hours during most events.

Road Anti-icing and De-icing

What is the difference between anti-icing and deicing?

  • Anti-icing: Chemicals are applied to roads before a winter weather event to prevent snow and ice from bonding with the pavement
  • De-icing:  Chemicals or abrasives are applied after snow or ice has bonded to the pavement.  Plowing generally begins when an inch or more of snow has accumulated on the road.

When and where will Warsaw use anti-icing?

Warsaw may use anti-icing when snow or an ice event is predicted.  Anticipated temperature and type of precipitation at the start of a storm will determine its use.  Warsaw's anti-icing program covers 220 lane miles of roads.  Depending on the storm event and timing, only main roads and bridges may be treated.

What chemicals are used?

Warsaw uses liquid calcium chloride and sodium chloride in our liquids program.  Sodium chloride in its dry form is used for deicing but can be used, in some cases, for anti-icing.

Dry sodium chloride (salt) is Warsaw's primary snow removal and ice control chemical.  It is applied directly to the pavement once the storm starts.  Dry salt is most effective after the snow has accumulated about an inch and the temperature is 16 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.  Liquid sodium chloride (brine) is an anti-icing and pre-treatment chemical.

What should I do if I drive up on a Warsaw anti-icing truck?

If you see an anti-icing crew spraying chemicals on the road, slow down.  Do not follow the trucks too closely.  If you must pass an anti-icing truck, do so carefully.

Don't Crowd the Plows - Driving Safety

  • Start to slow as soon as you see the snow plow, and stay at least five car lengths (70 feet) back.  Staying back will allow you enough time to react if the snow plow needs to stop quickly or avoid a road obstacle.
  • Don't stop too close.  Snow plows are often spreading deicing materials from the back of the truck.  Some of these materials could damage your vehicle if following too closely.
  • Give the snow plow room to work.  The driver's field of vision is restricted around some parts of the plow, so they may not always be able to see you.  And, be patient - they're working to help you.  If you're not in a hurry, don't pass them.  The road behind the snow plow will always be safer to drive on anyways.
  • Take extreme caution when passing.  Don't drive to close.  The front plow may cross the road's center line and shoulders.  Snow plows can also create clouds of snow that can reduce or completely eliminate your visibility.
  • Permit the plow extra room in high risk areas.  Areas where drivers are most at risk might include hills, curves, ramps, bridges, and interchanges.  Plow trucks may need to back up at intersections, so make sure to leave them room to do so.

Avoid the "Second Shovel" or Request Assistance

A little extra shoveling can prevent having to shovel heavy snow and ice build-up from the end of your driveway.  This heavier snow and ice build-up can cause health concerns for some people while shoveling.  See the diagram below regarding what areas to clear before snow plows arrive.

Need help clearing this build-up from the end of your driveway due to a medical restriction?  Complete our Snow Removal Assistance Form (PDF).

Graphic showing which areas of sidewalk to clear to avoid "plow-ins"