The Bureau of Highways is dedicated to insuring the safety of the traveling public while providing timely service to our citizen and business communities during inclement weather by planning and executing our winter operation activities on more than 6,700 County-maintained roads and streets.
- Winter PreparationsGetting Ready Early:
The dedicated staff of the Bureau of Highways (BOHs) is busy preparing for winter snow and ice control activities long before the first hint of snowfall. During the summer months, we first evaluate our fleet and staffing needs for the upcoming season. Our fleet of vehicles and equipment are then serviced and maintained to meet the demands of the winter season.
Snow and ice removal activities and the expense of our operations are reviewed each year. One cost control effort employed by the BOHs is the use private contractors. The process of securing snow removal contractors begins in July. Similar to the County fleet, contractor equipment is inspected and prepared for winter service. Spreading the Word Snow removal Information to educate the our citizens our citizen and businesses is also developed and prepared in the fall. During the spring months, a thorough review of the previous year’s snow removal outreach activities is conducted. Necessary changes are documented for implementation in the upcoming snow season
Anne Arundel County uses covered storage facilities for its road salt and stores a total of approximately 17,000 tons of salt at the following locations: Dover Road (Glen Burnie), Mountain Road (Pasadena), Crownsville Road (Annapolis), Broadneck Road (St. Margarets), Duckins Street (Odenton), West Central Avenue (Davidsonville), and at a storage yard in Friendship, MD. At the present time, a growing portion of Anne Arundel County’s fleet is also equipped with liquid calcium chloride pre-wetting equipment. Pre- wetting dry salt during its application helps the salt to adhere to the roadway. In contrast, dry salt can “bounce” and blow off the roadway and be less effective.
Environmentally Responsible De-icing:
De-icing materials are an effective tool for maintaining safe winter road conditions. However, the County is aware that excessive use can have negative impacts on the environment. Heavy use of road salts has been assessed to cause damage to vegetation, organisms in soil, birds and to other wildlife. Chloride ions from road salts find their way eventually into waterways, whether by direct runoff into surface water or by moving through the soil and groundwater. In surface water, road salts can harm freshwater plants, fish and other organisms that are not adapted to living in saline waters. The BOHs strives to only apply as much salt as necessary to achieve safe driving conditions.
- What to expect
In winter months, as soon as snow begins to accumulate, equipment is dispatched to service main and collector roadways. Main and collector roads will be plowed to bare pavement. Our next priority will be insuring residential roads are passable. Passable means that although the road may be snow-covered or snow-packed, at least one travel lane will be accessible with a front-wheel drive car. All-weather tires are a must. If our snowplow driver determines that your street meets our definition of passable, no further service will be provided. For more information regarding our service levels during inclement weather, please view our Travel Guide
PassableDuring a typical storm (under 4 inches), snow removal operations on County-maintained roadways should be completed within 24-36 hours after the end of the storm. In order to meet these published levels of service, County forces are supplemented with contractor forces. The County currently has a fleet of 72 dump trucks and 84 other pieces of snow removal equipment that can be used during a winter storm response. This includes heavy construction equipment such as road graders, skid steer loaders, and backhoes that would only be used for snow removal under the most severe winter conditions. Our fleet is supplemented with approximately 150 pieces of contractor-owned snow removal equipment. This contractor fleet is on retainer with Anne Arundel County and is available for any winter operation. However, during a declared blizzard emergency, Anne Arundel County forces, even supplemented by contractor forces, may not meet our Travel Guide’s published levels of service.During significant storm events (over 4" of accumulation), our Department Operations Center is activated. It is staffed around the clock to coordinate County-wide snow removal operations and can activate its own Call Center to assist in answering citizen concerns if call volumes dictate.
- Help Us Serve You Better
Residents and businesses can help make our jobs safer and easier during a winter storm.
How you can help?
- Call 911 for a bona fide emergency such as a need for police, fire or ambulance service. During weather emergencies, you can call the Office of Emergency Management for assistance in getting transportation for dialysis patients or emergency oxygen.
- Please be patient. We prioritize our plowing operations to get you moving as quickly as possible. We start with main and collector roads, problem intersections, and steep hills and severe curves in communities. We then continue on to the remaining residential streets.
- Park your vehicles in your driveway if at all possible. On-street parking is one of the biggest challenges our snowplow drivers face. If our snowplow drivers feel they cannot safely access your street, no service will be provided. If off-street parking is not available, it is strongly recommended that you park your vehicles on one side of the road to insure accessibility for our snowplow drivers. This is especially important on hills, dead-ends, and cul-de-sacs.
- Clear your sidewalk of any snow accumulation. Snow removal on sidewalks, driveways, and entrances is the responsibility of the homeowner. In many instances, these sidewalks are used by children as school walking routes. Your neighbors will thank you.
- review our goal for cul-de-sac clearing strategy which is distributed to County employees and contractors, available on the DPW Snow Information.
- Caution your children to stay clear of snow removal equipment.
- Know that Anne Arundel County only plows County-owned roads. We do not have a program for plowing State roads, private roads or parking areas in private communities. Any road with a route number is the responsibility of the State Highway Administration. You can contact them at (410) 841-1002
- Volunteer for the Snow Patrol to assist the elderly and disabled citizens of Anne Arundel County by contacting the Volunteer Center for Anne Arundel at (410) 897-9207. For more information about the Snow Patrol, please visit their web site at www.aacvc.org.
- Make sure trash and recycling containers are visible.
- Don't leave your empty trash can, recycling bins, or other obstacles in the street. Our drivers thank you for helping them to perform their job safely.
- Don't place snow from sidewalks or driveways in the street. Placing snow in the street could contribute to a greater amount of snow being pushed toward your property as the plow passes by.
Public Reminder for Driveway Clearing
- Winter Weather Tips
- Have vehicles properly winterized, equipped with snow tires or chains, and carry a "survival kit" in your vehicle consisting of blankets, candles, matches, non-perishable foods, drinking water, protective clothing, sand (or other traction material) and a shovel. Eliminate all non-essential travel during storms.
- Maintain a full tank of gas if travel during adverse weather is absolutely necessary.
- Check for the proper operation of home emergency equipment, such as battery operated radios, flashlights, emergency heating sources, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers. Have furnaces, wood burning stoves and fireplaces checked for safe operation and have chimneys cleaned. Always dispose of fireplace ashes in an approved metal container, not in a plastic or paper bag or unapproved container.
- Store some non-perishable foods for use in emergencies and keep an adequate supply of medications and baby supplies on-hand if needed.
- Plan to prevent water pipes from freezing during periods of intense cold by properly insulating pipes or draining water from exposed pipes. As a last resort, maintain minimum water flow to prevent freezing.
- Wear proper clothing for weather conditions. Several layers of loose fitting, warm clothing are better than one thick garment. Wear hats and mittens or gloves when exposed to the cold.
- Those with a medical condition should maintain an adequate supply of essential medications.
- Pace physical activity, such as snow shoveling or pushing cars. Regardless of age or physical condition, avoid over-exertion. Elderly persons should be cautious in attempting snow removal.