It is that time of the year when the City of Fort Wayne's Street Department turns its focus from leaf pickup to snow removal. While we hope for a mild winter, we have already seen a few days where snow has dusted the ground. Fortunately, our street crews are better prepared than ever to deal with snow and ice when it impacts the City's roadways.
This year, the City will be divided into 16 snow routes, four more than last year. In addition, the Street Department has 17 new trucks, five new drivers and double the amount of salt storage capability thanks to a new transportation facility. All of this means improved service and safer roads for the residents of Fort Wayne.
Streets in each snow route are prioritized as one, two or three. Priority one streets, main arterials like Airport Expressway and Bluffton Road, are the first to be plowed and salted during a snow event. After those are deemed safe for travel, street crews will treat priority two streets, including DeForest Avenue and Maplewood Road. Priority three streets, mainly residential, will be plowed and salted if there is an accumulation of three or more inches of snow.
While no snow event is exactly the same, it usually takes 10-12 hours after the snow stops falling to treat priority one and two streets. Residential streets generally take 48 hours to plow, assuming street crews do not have to move back to priority one or two streets.
There are a few things citizens are asked to keep in mind during winter weather. Drive with caution and maintain a safe distance from snowplows and salt trucks. Remember, trucks generally push snow to the passenger side of the vehicle. Never attempt to pass a plow truck on the right since there can be much more snow on that side. Also, to minimize the amount of snow pushed into driveways, residents should pile shoveled snow to the right side of their drive. Doing this will prevent snowplows from carrying piles of freshly shoveled snow from one side of your driveway to the other. Also, please do not pile snow in the street. It causes problems for other motorists.
In the case of major snowfalls in the City of Fort Wayne, I have the authority to call snow emergencies. Fortunately, such a weather event is a rarity, but if Fort Wayne gets significant snowfall and a snow emergency is declared, all parking is banned on Fort Wayne streets designated as snow control routes. Unauthorized vehicles may be towed and stored at the owner's expense.
Hopefully we will have minimal snowfall in Fort Wayne this winter season. But if there are problems residents can be assured the City's Street Department is well trained and well equipped to keep our streets safe.