Snow and Ice Control Policy
The responsibility of snow removal and ice control operations on unincorporated Northfield Township Roads falls upon the Northfield Township Road District. Consistent with the tenets of good planning for unpredictable, but inevitable circumstances, is the need for a concise snow clearance plan to serve as an operation guide during any winter storm, whether normal or severe.
It is the intent of the Township Road District to have all roads cleared by six (6) a.m. to provide clear and safe access to roads for all residents. Under ideal circumstances the Township Road District accomplishes this policy, but there are times when the snowfall or ice storm makes it impossible to carry out this policy. Occasionally, the township is faced with a prolonged winter storm or blizzard of great intensity combined with high winds and drifting, or a rapid succession of small storms that overburden the Township Road District’s manpower resources and severely limit the effectiveness of certain pieces of snow removal equipment. It is the intent of this policy to reduce the magnitude of the adverse impact that snow or ice storms will have upon health, life, safety, travel, business and the economic well being of this community.
The purpose of this policy is to provide operations staff and homeowners with a solid base of essential background information and direction. It is our goal to minimize the impact of the inevitable inconvenience and hardship resulting from all winter storms on the citizens we serve to the degree practical by having a consistent, organized, plan of attack. When the policies, principles and practices contained herein are consistently followed, we will be in a position to provide the most appropriate and effective control operations and emergency response possible for the community at large with the equipment and personnel available.
NOTIFICATION AND MOBILIZATION PROCEDURE
When snow, ice, ice pellets, freezing drizzle or rain, or any combination of same is imminent or has accumulated to a depth which is considered potentially hazardous to vehicular travel in the Township Road District jurisdiction, the Foreman is authorized to notify the Township Road District personnel immediately!
The Foreman has been consistently alerted that early notification is essential! It must be remembered that a minimum of one (1) hour will elapse before the first salt truck is on the road. An early or premature call is far preferable to a late call. This is especially critical near rush hours!
When weather conditions are predicted to deteriorate quickly after the regular work day, or if it is obvious to the Foreman that conditions warrant immediate service, the crew will be promptly retained. The same holds true for weekend operations. We strive to be as self sufficient as possible.
The Foreman has full responsibility and authority for planning, coordination, response, implementation, monitoring and managing of all snow and ice control efforts. In the absence of the Foreman, the Highway Commissioner or a designated crew member will have full responsibility.
SNOW & ICE CONTROL RESPONSE
The Township Road Districts initial response to any snow or ice storm is to immediately dispatch all salt trucks. Unless otherwise notified by the Highway Commissioner or Foreman, all operators will continually salt/plow the streets in their pre-assigned areas. The Foreman shall constantly monitor street conditions and the progress of the storm to determine if and when to discontinue operations.
The ultimate goal during each snow or ice storm is to have every street plowed curb to curb with corners pushed backed and/or salted at the conclusion of the snow/ice operation to better ensure vehicular safety, proper drainage and ample snow storage during subsequent storms. The following are important instructions, policies and reminders to be observed during and after all plowing/salting operations.
- It shall be the responsibility of each driver to promptly notify the foreman if he/she is unable to work the shift. Should a winter storm come after regular Township Road District business hours, each driver shall leave with the Foreman a telephone number where he/she can be reached. Notification of such change shall be via a telephone call to the Foreman or Highway Commissioner.
- Drivers are to review detailed area maps carefully to clarify exact perimeters of their responsibility! Individual section maps are enclosed in plastic in each truck and throw-away copies of said maps are available during each storm event from the Foreman. The driver should become familiar with all potential physical hazards in roadways or adjacent thereto.
- All drivers are to “hit the road” immediately upon checking in, after fueling/loading their vehicle. Do not wait for other drivers to arrive!
- Keep in contact with the Foreman as necessary by radio for special instructions. When completed with your primary area, check with the Foreman promptly to see if any other driver needs assistance.
- Inspect and clean up the truck/spreader/spinner when finished to prevent “caking” and to identify mechanical problems in need of prompt repair. Always park the vehicle fully fueled with less than a full load to avoid overloading the springs. Thorough cleaning, inspection and servicing is essential.
- Drivers are urged to formulate a logical route in their mind to ensure the areas are plowed in the most effective manner.
- All plows and spreaders are to be staffed with one person, unless otherwise directed in order to accomplish a specific training requirement.
- All private roads are plowed by homeowners groups.
Emergency/Blizzard Type Conditions
Winter storms vary greatly in size, intensity, duration and timing. As a benchmark, when a single storm event with blizzard type conditions occurs resulting in excess of 8-inches of wet/dense snow combined with high winds and drifting, or when a series of snow storms occur in rapid succession prior to full recovery from the previous storm, it is anticipated that the physical conditions caused by these uncontrollable natural events will exceed the capabilities of existing Township Road District staff and equipment.
In such circumstances and his best judgement, the Highway Commissioner will activate the Emergency Snow Clearance plan. The following is the order of priority under this plan:
- Snow plowing services shall first be concentrated on opening arterial, collector and significant thoroughfares especially those involved with police, fire and ambulance usage within the Township Road District jurisdiction.
- Plow roads needed for essential services including hospitals, clinics, utilities, food and fuel sources and local schools.
- Plow residential areas.
- Plow wider widths and push back corners on roads where all lanes and parking have not yet been cleared.
- Set up a system of priorities and begin checking intersections and removing snow obstructing vision where snow exists in piles or mounds of over 3.5 feet which is the driver eye-height used in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for streets and highways.
- Large snow removal equipment will be staffed around the clock by re-assigning personnel to one of two twelve hour shifts.
- During such emergency periods, the Township Road District shall make provisions to meet basic nutritional needs of staff.
When plowing under adverse conditions, initial opening of heavily drifted areas may require a tractor mounted reversible plow, V-plow or high capacity snow blower. In certain extreme circumstances, contractual assistance may be necessary.
This plan assumes that major arterial roadways under the jurisdiction of the State, County and Municipalities running through and around the Township Road District jurisdiction will be plowed by those responsible agencies or their designated contractor(s). Township Road District staff will only be authorized to plow and/or salt State, County or Municipal thoroughfares upon the direction of the Highway Commissioner.
It is the responsibility of all Township Road District personnel to operate snow removal equipment with extreme caution at all times, especially at or near railroad grade crossings. It is necessary that we cooperate fully with the railroads and other highway jurisdictions in maintaining all railroad crossings in a safe condition. The following precautions must be observed by all employees (as well as local contractors and other governmental agencies) operating snow removal equipment over or near railroad grade crossings at all times:
- stop all heavy snow removal equipment before driving over a crossing;
- be alert for trains from both directions when approaching crossing;
- raise the nose and blade of snowplows as well as tractor buckets to clear rails, planks or rubberized grade crossing structures;
- be sure that chunks of ice, large mounds of snow or other heavy debris are not deposited within the crossing zone;
- spread a sufficient amount of salt or abrasive to the pavement approaching the crossing to afford adequate traction and protection for traffic; and
- turn spreaders off prior to actually crossing the grade in order to assure salt or abrasives are not deposited on the crossing or directly in the rail flangeway.
All personnel must realize the importance of complying with this policy in order to avoid derailments or related highway accidents. Proper and safe operation of snow removal equipment can minimize the potential for unnecessary property damage, personal injury and attendant lawsuits.
Cleanup of Equipment and Facilities
Salt loading areas around the bulk storage bins shall be cleaned up as soon as practical after every storm. All salt and plow trucks shall receive a preliminary wash/rinse down after every use and a thorough cleaning as soon as practical after every storm. They shall be parked fully fueled and ready to go on a moments notice.
Any salt or abrasive spills in the field due to mechanical malfunction or overloading of hoppers shall be noted and thoroughly cleaned up at the conclusion of control operations.
All snow and ice control equipment is to be thoroughly inspected, repaired, re-calibrated and put into service each autumn. The bulk material storage facility shall be inspected after receipt and filling of every salt order received as well as after every major storm for tidiness, structural stability and accidental damage. All plows will be fully inspected and repaired by fleet maintenance staff (casters, chains, blades, springs, etc.) after every major storm. It is the specific responsibility of all personnel to report any defect they observe in equipment, street, ROW, facility conditions, or in operating procedures.
All drivers of plows, salt spreaders and tractors will receive personal instruction on a wide variety of equipment by qualified staff. In addition, all operators will participate in IDOT and/or NWMC sponsored training seminars as soon as possible upon hire and not less than every seven years.
Rules of The Road
All snow and ice control equipment drivers shall be thoroughly familiar with the most current version of Illinois Rules of the Road and the Illinois Commercial Drivers License Study Guide, both published and available through any Secretary of State’s office.
Snow and ice control operations have certain inherent risks. Drivers are reminded to drive defensively. Be alert for changing road and traffic conditions at all times. Keep your eyes moving; use extreme caution during all backing maneuvers; exercise due diligence to avoid mailboxes; and report all accidents promptly! If the incident is serious, get photos and police reports immediately. Township Road District investigation will follow as soon as practical during or after completion of pending snow and ice control obligations.
Ticketing and Towing
On-street parking is prohibited from November 1st through April 1st, between the hours of 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. Problem areas will be administered by the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department. Should towing be required, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department will make the arrangements.
The Township Road District has cul-de-sacs (some have a center landscaped island) which are beautiful to look at but rather difficult to plow expeditiously and safely without incurring the wrath of some homeowners who may believe an inordinate amount of snow enters their driveway during plowing operations. In most instances, plow starting at the center and drive counter-clockwise to push snow out. Driving clockwise from the outer edge in does not work! Where practical, avoid unnecessary backing maneuvers, while exercising common sense to avoid depositing huge, insurmountable mounds in driveway approaches. Be calm under fire! If residents are unduly hostile or request we leave the area without further plowing, please do so without incident and the Foreman or Highway Commissioner will follow up when time permits.