All Public Works field personnel are considered essential employees, and as such, are expected to report to work when called upon in the event of adverse winter weather. Essential employees may also be asked to report earlier or later than the normal workday starting time, work overtime, work a different shift or on weekends and holidays depending on the nature of the weather emergency. Exceptions must be requested in advance and approved by the employee’s supervisor and manager. Every employee will have a role to play in support of the snow removal operations effort to help keep the streets safe and restore streets to normal as soon as possible after the weather event.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE FOR WINTER WEATHER RESPONSE
The Streets and Facilities Operations and Maintenance Manager is the Lead Coordinator of the Winter Weather Plan and serves as the primary liaison with Emergency Services during winter weather events. Once the plan has been put into operation a designated Crew Chief and an assistant will be in charge of the operations and will have full authority to contact the required staff members to report for duty and to implement the plan. The Crew Chiefs and their assistants will alternate weeks for the initial response to a storm. The assigned response week will coincide with the standby week which begins at 7:30 am each Monday. A schedule will be posted with the Public Safety Dispatchers showing the first person to contact during a winter weather event.
Public Works is responsible for the removal of snow and ice from building entrance landings, steps and walks for most buildings while the Parks Division will be responsible for the Civic Center complex and the other Recreation and Parks buildings.
Every year on or before the 15th of October, the Streets and Facilities Operations and Maintenance Manager is responsible for the following:
Finalize strategies for any changes to the Winter Weather Plans
Appoint the crew chiefs and assistants who will be in charge of operations
Confirm the stock of salt, ice melt and sand and advise Materials Management to order as necessary
Inventory and prepare the brine manufacturing and distribution equipment
Establish any required new or refresher training of personnel
Designate the lead person to prepare the trucks for winter weather and to operationally test all snow removal and salt spreading equipment.
Approximately 3 days before the first forecasted snow or ice event, the Operations and Maintenance Manager will schedule a meeting of the Winter Weather Team at the Central Services Complex. Attendees at this meeting will include:
Public Works Director and Managers
Electric Department Director and/or designee
Public Safety Personnel
Public Works Crew chiefs and assistants who will be in charge of operations
Utility Crew Chiefs
Equipment Shop Manager
Management or Field personnel deemed necessary
This purpose of the pre-event meeting is to discuss the specifics of the imminent weather event. The agenda for this meeting will include:
A review of the weather forecast including National Weather Service webinars
Staffing level contingencies and any modifications to staff work schedules, shift reporting times or job assignments
Informing personnel to be prepared to return to work if needed
Scheduling of brine pre-treatment application
Verify the operation of equipment and install chains (Equipment Shop)
Availability of salt, brine, sand and/or other ice melt products
A review of the status of scheduled City events and facilities affected
Preparing the Winter Weather Headquarters and check communications
PRIOR TO THE PREDICTED EVENT
After a winter weather storm has been predicted and if weather conditions are favorable the Public Works Department will begin to pre-treat the streets with a salt brine solution. The streets will be treated in the same general order and designation as the snow removal priority listing. Brine application will take place on as many of the level 1, 2 and 3 streets as possible prior to the event. Due to the size of the equipment needed to distribute the brine most Level 4 streets will not be pre-treated.
Brine is applied as a liquid (with a freezing temperature of approximately 6 degrees) to road surfaces in advance of a predicted snow event. Ideally, pre-storm applications are done during dry weather, allowing the brine to dry completely and become embedded into the asphalt before frozen precipitation (snow/ice) arrives. When snow hits the asphalt the brine activates and immediately lowers the freezing point of water. The melting process does not happen immediately. Streets may appear to be completely snow covered, but don’t be deceived.
The objective of brine is to prevent the bond of ice or snow to the roadway, not to melt it; which allows for smooth and easy plowing during the weather event. The industry refers to this a "squeegee" removal process rather than plowing as the plows are equipped with rubber strips which make contact with the pavement. These rubber strips are used to protect the pavement markings and reflectors that are used on many of the City streets.
The Public Works Department utilizes salt brine as a tool in managing frozen precipitation on roadways during the winter season. Using salt brine can provide city staff with additional time to respond to freezing precipitation. In addition, the application of salt brine may reduce the need to call in employees on an overtime basis to treat bridges and overpasses that have a tendency to freeze or when small snow showers pass through the area overnight and leave a dusting on the roadways.
DURING THE WEATHER EVENT
PLAN IMPLEMENTATION PROCEDURE AND NOTIFICATION
Operations and Maintenance Manager will make the decision to implement the plan and mobilize the appropriate level of staffing previously discussed during the pre-event meeting
Each Snow Management Crew Chief and Assistant will contact their assigned personnel to have an adequate staff to implement the plan.
Personnel who are on Public Works standby status will not be called for snow removal except in time of extreme emergency. On Sunday the personnel scheduled to begin standby on Monday will be treated in the same manner as the current standby crew.
Staff members will report to the Snow Management Crew Chief or assistant for assignment as soon as possible.
During extreme snow events a 12 hour on /12 hour off shift may be implemented. This may also include lodging being obtained for personnel in order to maintain the level of staffing necessary to perform any duties required by the Public Works Department
SNOW REMOVAL PRIORITIES
The City maintained streets have been prioritized into four categories according to volume of traffic and public health and safety factors.
connections at the neighborhood level.
As conditions warrant, Public Works equipment operators will begin snow removal from highways, bridges and streets based on the pre-approved, prioritized map. This map has been developed to first clear the streets that carry the highest volume of traffic and the main access routes to the hospital. All Level 1 streets will be cleared until a satisfactory level of service has been achieved before the Level 2 streets are cleared.
If additional snowfall covers the Level 1 streets again, the concentration of service will return to Level 1until they have again been cleared at which time clearing operations will resume on Level 2 streets. This plowing will continue until all Level 1 and 2 streets have achieved the satisfactory level of service.
After Level 1 and 2 streets are cleared, a decision when to begin the treatment of Level 3 and 4 streets will be determined by several factors including the timing and amount of the precipitation along with the current and predicted weather conditions and available materials and personnel. More information on Salt Brine and the traditional salting and plowing methods is listed on the following pages and a complete listing of streets in each category is listed at the end of the plan.
WINTER WEATHER OPERATIONS - SNOW REMOVAL SNOW REMOVAL RESOURCES
Sand/Aggregates – fine aggregates do little to directly affect the melting process, but sand placed on top of ice and snow adds friction/traction for vehicles and pedestrians. Dark sands will absorb heat from sun light and provide some thermal benefits for melting. THE SNOW PLAN
When snow begins to cover roads, Public Works crews spread salt and plow all Level 1 streets and Hospital Routes. Crews also respond to emergency requests for assistance from the E-911 dispatch center. E-911 emergency requests (life safety) are handled as priority calls throughout an entire snow event. Crews will continue to focus all available resources on Level 1 streets until all routes are in a passable condition.
Once Level 1 streets are cleared, crews will then transition to Level 2 streets and routine trouble areas.
Level III streets will ONLY be cleared after Level I & II streets are completed. The decision and ability of the Public Works Department to clear Level III routes is based on a number of factors including current weather conditions, salt/chemical reserves and the threat of additional inclement weather.
HOW BRINE WORKS
Brine is applied to road surfaces several days in advance of a predicted snow event. Ideally, pre-applications are done during dry weather, allowing the brine to dry completely and embed into the asphalt before freezing precipitation (snow/ice) arrives. When snow hits the asphalt the brine activates and immediately lowers the freezing point of water. The melting process does not happen immediately. Streets may appear snow covered, but don’t be deceived. The objective of brine is to prevent the bond of ice or snow to the roadway, not to melt it; therefore allowing smooth, easy plowing during the weather event. The industry refers to this a "squeegee" removal process rather than plowing as the plows are equipped with rubber strips which make contact with the pavement.
An additional positive is that the brine will stay bound to the asphalt even after the snow and ice has been removed from the surface. Studies show that when rock salt is spread onto the street up to 30% of this material bounces to the curb or the shoulder and when a treated street is plowed, most of the salt is pushed off the road surface along with the snow.
The perfect solution of Brine is a 20 to 23.3% concentration of salt which will withstand freezing temperatures down to -6 degrees and the streets can be treated with air temperatures as low as 10 degrees. The City has technicians who will closely monitor the brine production and test each batch to assure that the concentration is within the required parameters.
City of Oak Ridge Brine Information
The brine is mixed at the Public Works Complex. The operation consists of a
brine mixing machine capable of producing 2000 gallons per hour and
two 5000 gallon holding tanks.
When needed, brine is transferred to two 1,000 gallon tanks mounted on trailers, taking approximately 15 minutes to fill each trailer.
Brine is applied (gravity fed) at a flow rate of approximately 40 gallons per lane mile.
Public Works pre-treats approximately 134 lane miles for the city’s Level 1and 2 streets and time permitting will pre-treat as many of the Level 3 streets (100 lane miles) as possible.
Improve road conditions at the onset of freezing precipitation.
Provide city staff with time to mobilize and respond to freezing precipitation.
Provide protection from frosting of bridges, hills and other problematic roadways.
Reduce the cost of snow removal services
Below is an example of resources used for both the traditional and new brine methods to treat all level I & 2 streets and the potential cost savings with the brine method. Traditional Salt Methods
New Salt Brine Methods
Level 1 and 2 streets (lane miles)
Tons of salt required
Number of employees required
Number of trucks required
Cost for salt @ $90/ton
Estimated Time for treatment
Estimated Man hours for treatment