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Snow and Ice Removal

During a snow event, the Department of Public Works (DPW) will provide the necessary level of service to restore near normal road surface conditions. The level and type of service will be dependent upon the amount of snow or ice, weather conditions, and time of day. The Department will continuously have trucks on the road, until the road conditions on all major thoroughfares are at acceptable levels.

There is no minimum amount of snow accumulation that prompts DPW snow removal activities. If there is any potential for road surfaces to become slippery, then snow & ice control procedures are implemented.

The City of Detroit has a system to alert and prepare residents for disruptive winter weather. There are three levels of weather

Level 1
3 inches or less of snow and/or freezing rain

Under Level 1, conditions significantly affect ability to travel, and the snow will can remain and accumulate if freezing temperatures continue. Under Level 1, the Department of Public Works will salt only on major thoroughfares.

Level 2
3 to 6 inches of snow and/or freezing rain

Level 2 conditions include heavier snow fall that requires more extensive use of vehicles for salting and plowing. In this case, salting will take place only on major thoroughfares.

Level 3
6 inches or more of snow and/or freezing rain

Under Level 3

There are extreme winter conditions.
The Mayor may declare a snow emergency.
Below freezing temperatures can create health risks.
Trash collection may be affected.
Contractor may plow residential streets.

Snow & ice removal is accomplished through de-icing (applying road salt after snow has begun) and anti-icing (applying a liquid salt brine or calcium chloride solution before the snow or ice begins). In addition, plowing of roads may be utilized when snow accumulations exceed three inches.

When a storm occurs over multiple days, the Department will adjust employee work schedules to ensure that around-the-clock operations are employed, if needed, to attain acceptable road conditions. DPW has a 7-day, 24-hour operation during the winter season. These employees are the first employees deployed during every snow event. If the necessary, additional employees are called in on an overtime basis so that all available salting/plowing trucks are manned.

The Department also utilizes the services of a private weather forecasting company to assist in making proactive decisions regarding the level of service that will be needed.