Public Works Prepared for Winter Weather
Weekend Storm Expected
Annapolis (February 10, 2006) - Although this region has enjoyed a mild winter, the Department of Public Works’ (DPW) forecasting service now predicts what could be the most significant storm of the season and certainly this year. A combination of rain, sleet and snow is expected to begin tomorrow morning and develop into heavy snow overnight into Sunday with possible accumulations of up to 8". Today, DPW is making final preparations and equipment checks and will mobilize at 7:00 a.m. Saturday.
The DPW, Bureau of Highways Storm Center is expected to activate at 8:00 p.m. Saturday. Like last year, residents are encouraged to use the on-line snow service request system to determine what type of road they live on and the corresponding level of snow removal service they can expect. If, during snow storms of greater than 4 " of snow or severe ice storms, the Department has not met the expected level of service, residents may submit an on-line service request. While staff at the Bureau of Highways’ Storm Center will still be available to help residents by phone 24 hours a day during severe weather, the website provides an alternative, efficient means of communication.
"As with any storm, I encourage the citizens to be prepared for the winter weather expected over the weekend," said County Executive Janet S. Owens. "While the Department of Public Works will be doing its part to keep residents on the move, it's imperative that residents consider the hazards of winter weather and plan accordingly."
County Executive Owens further reminds residents to fully utilize the County website for winter weather assistance, including the Emergency Preparedness Guide.
Residents are urged to help DPW staff by utilizing off-street parking when snow is predicted. "As skilled and dedicated as our drivers are in clearing narrow, residential streets, the practice of parking cars on both sides of the road creates a safety hazard for the community and the drivers alike," said Rhody Holthaus, Chief, Bureau of Highways. "If our drivers find that the road is not safe due to on-street parking, service to the entire road could be delayed."
Residents are also reminded that snow removal operations are carried out in a systematic manner that serves the greater need first. Main roads, collector routes, steep slopes, and sharp curves are the first priority, followed by residential streets, and then dead-ends and cul-de-sacs. Residents should become familiar with the difference between bare pavement and passable road conditions. Passable means that after the plow has been through, the road may still be snow-packed, there may only be one travel lane open, and all-weather tires are a must. Plow operators work tirelessly in a storm to ensure that roads are passable.
DPW is responsible for maintaining more than 1,750 miles of roadway during winter. There are approximately 300 pieces of snow removal equipment on-hand, including dump trucks and loaders. Of those vehicles, approximately 80 are equipped with GPS allowing better communication and planning during weather emergencies. In addition to County equipment, DPW has contracted with the business community to have on-hand approximately 138 pieces of equipment with operators. The Department maintains 11,650 tons of salt and is at full capacity at this time.
Residents should visitwww.aacounty.org to learn more about snow removal and the on-line snow service request system. Residents are encouraged to learn the level of service for their street and should take advantage of this quick and easy method to contact us if we have not met this level of service. For storms with accumulations of less than 4", residents may also contact their local Bureau of Highway’s District office by telephone as follows: Northern (410) 222-6120; Central (410) 222-7940; and Southern (410) 222-1933.