The Linn County Secondary Road Department is ready for winter weather and wants residents to be prepared too. By sharing information with residents about the Secondary Road Department’s hours of operation, snow routes, and snow and ice ordinance and policy, the department can help ensure efficient responses to all winter weather events. Here are the top five things you can do to help the Secondary Road Department when it snows:
1. Remove Cars from the Street
The Secondary Road Department asks that all parked vehicles be removed from the roads prior to a snow event to ensure plows can safely and efficiently clear your road. All county roads are established as snow routes. Parking vehicles within the right-of-way is prohibited for any reason following snowfalls exceeding one inch, or freezing rain in any amount, until 48 hours after the roads have been plowed and/or are no longer blowing shut due to drifted snow; and County snow removal operations are completed, with the roads fully open to traffic.
2. Don’t Push Snow Across the Road
Property owners are responsible for removing snow from sidewalks and driveways. When removing snow from your driveway, do not plow snow across the road. Instead, place snow on private property and push snow off the shoulder and into the ditch. Leaving snow on the shoulder may cause unsafe roadways and may damage the plow and truck. Improperly placed snow can result in plow drivers needing to take extra time to clear it and the Road Department invoicing residents that repeatedly fail to follow these guidelines.
3. Properly Maintain Your Mailbox
Residents are asked to properly install, maintain, and clear snow from their mailbox to help prevent damage during winter snow removal. Here are some tips:
- Ensure the mailbox post is sturdy and fully supported to the ground to withstand the heavy snow moved aside by the plow.
- The front of the mailbox should be at least 6 inches back from the edge of pavement/curb and the bottom of the box at least 41 inches off the ground.
- Remove snow from around the base and to the right side of the mailbox regularly but avoid pushing snow back into the road.
- Use a snowblower or shovel to remove the snow to the right of the mailbox to allow heavy snow to fall off the plow prior to reaching the mailbox.
- If you have a highly ornate/artistic mailbox, consider replacing it with a standard box during winter months.
4. Give the Plows Space
Driving a snowplow is one of the toughest jobs around. Operators must maneuver a 27-foot truck with a 10-foot plow while dealing with foggy windows, swirling snow, slippery roads, icy intersections, and everyday traffic. Here are a few things to keep in mind when plows are on the roads:
- During snowstorm conditions, snowplows are considered and should be treated as an emergency vehicle.
- Keep a safe distance when following snowplows. This is critical because snowplows create a swirl of snow that can blind the driver of a car following too closely or cars approaching from the opposite direction.
- Snow trucks may also be spreading material as they plow snow to melt snow and ice to provide traction for driving safety.
- Don't stop too closely behind a stopped snowplow. The operator may be preparing to back up and may not see you.
- Don't pass a snowplow unless your visibility is perfectly clear and it is completely safe for you, the snowplow driver, and other vehicles.
- Patience is very necessary during snow season. The snowplow operator is working to provide safe road conditions for you and your family.
5. Be Patient
During winter weather events, Linn County Secondary Road Department crews work 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to help residents get to and from work and their other daily activities safely. If conditions warrant, crews will work extended hours from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please be patient as they try to clear the roads, whether you are waiting at home or driving. Safety of the crews, residents, and travelers is always our number one priority.
Be in the know when it snows by signing up for text or email updates regarding Linn County’s snow event response. Sign up at LinnCountyIowa.gov/NotifyMe.
Winter Driving Safety Tips
Please drive safely this winter and practice these safe driving tips.
More information about the Linn County Secondary Road Department’s winter weather preparations and response can be found in a previous Linn County Connection blog post.