During snow events Public Works strives to maintain safe roads at safe speeds. Our goal is to clear, sand, and treat roads in a timely manner as resources allow.
Historically, snow removal was a heavy labor intensive job performed by men using brooms and shovels in “piling and loading gangs”. Public Works crews will constantly monitor weather conditions.
Sweeping is the process of removing sand, small gravel, natural debris and chemicals from City streets. This not only makes our neighborhoods look clean and neat, it also helps prevent stormwater system backups and meets Federal requirements to keep these contaminates out of streams and rivers. The City uses 6 three-wheel sweepers to perform this work during the day and at night. Residents are notified of the sweeping schedule by signing up for alerts or checking Nextdoor. Signs are posted the day before sweeping asking that vehicles be moved off of the street. On the day of sweeping, crews will ticket any cars that are parked in a swept area.
Residential areas are swept 3 times a year, April through October. Sweeping schedules are based on weather and can vary. Residents can help by raking grass clippings and leaves directly into the curb, rather than leaving them on the street. This allows the sweeper to more effectively remove them.
When the temperature drops below freezing, the Street Maintenance Section focuses on snow and ice control activities. Anti-icing is the application of chemical freezing-point depressants to roadway surfaces to prevent ice from bonding to the pavement surface. De-icing is the removal of existing ice and snow. DPW crews work continuously during a snow event until road conditions are safe for travel.
When sidewalk corners or gaps form between sidewalk panels patching is a quick and inexpensive way to repair the condition. Patching can be done in asphalt or with a concrete filler, and when using an asphalt patch it is always best to undercut the hole to allow the material to bond more permanently with the existing sidewalk.
Generally speaking, when street pavement reaches the middle of its “life” it starts to show some signs of wear and tear. The pavement will begin to crack, sink, break and ravel at the edges. In some cases the surface may even heave up and down in response to the weight of vehicles, water and seasonal changes in temperature and moisture.
To prolong the life of the City’s miles of street pavement preventative maintenance procedures like crack sealing and slurry seal are used. However, many streets that have reached the poor to very poor PCI range require major rehabilitation such as reconstruction or hot-mix asphalt overlays. The City’s street maintenance program is also responsible for improving concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk; constructing handicap access ramps; grading and patching alleys; and snow removal during the winter. Every fall, inspectors mark streets for future street improvement projects and a preliminary Street Maintenance Program (SMP) list is posted in spring. In addition, crews are constantly repairing potholes with cold mix asphalt while working through a backlog of resident requests and problem areas.
The freeze/thaw cycle, traffic loading and the condition of the soils beneath the pavement all contribute to deterioration of street surfaces. Maintenance and rehabilitation treatments are employed to prolong the life of an existing road surface in a cost-effective manner. Preventive maintenance techniques are used to delay future deterioration, such as crack sealing, patching and surface treatments (like chip seals). Corrective maintenance is performed to address distresses that have already occurred such as potholes and rutting. When the deterioration has advanced beyond repair through maintenance, reconstruction is needed to reconstruct the existing pavement and reset the deterioration process. This may involve a slurry seal or full paving overlay.
The City’s Streets Division crews work on the City’s asphalt surfaced streets throughout spring, summer and fall. During these months you may see staff filling potholes, applying crack seal, and repaving larger areas of the roadways in need of improvement.
Older asphalt pavements might have a variety of surface defects including small and large cracks, oil spots and raveling. These issues can lead to further deterioration and costly repairs for the City. The City uses a maltene-based material called crack seal to treat these problems. The result of this preventive treatment is a significantly longer lifespan for the treated side of the road. It also costs less to maintain than the untreated side of the road. The City also employs the use of hot-mix asphalt mastic repair materials to stabilize these types of distressed areas of the roadway.
Many municipalities hold the homeowners adjacent to the sidewalk responsible for maintenance and repair of the concrete. For those who do not own their property, such as HOA members in condominium communities, the issue becomes more complicated.
Sidewalk repairs can be categorized as short term measures that last from one to five years, and long term solutions such as sidewalk replacement. This involves the removal and replacement of the entire sidewalk panels or slabs and if done properly can extend the life of the sidewalk well over 10 years.
While some of the damage to sidewalks is caused by tripping hazards, spalling is also a common problem that can be expensive to repair. This is where the aggregate under the concrete deteriorates and is exposed to the surface of the sidewalk. While it may seem minor, if the damage extends deeper than two inches, the problem can potentially affect the subbase of the sidewalk.
We are not able to repair all sidewalks due to the cost of materials and our limited budget. We prioritize repairs based on the rating that is received from the inspection and the location of the damage. If you have a lower rating or time-sensitive needs for a sidewalk repair, you can hire an independent contractor to perform the work and obtain a permit from Parks for working around tree roots.
In the fall, when the weather is cooling down, it’s time for residents to consider having their trees trimmed. Homeowners should also think about having any invasive or diseased trees removed that could cause damage to the property or people. If a tree is dead or leaning precariously, dropping a lot of debris, producing fruit that could be hazardous, growing in a way that blocks views or overshadows structures, draining into streets, creeks or rivers or blocking driveway entrances, it may be worth the investment to have them removed.
The Street Maintenance Section provides equipment and staffing to perform year round preservation and maintenance of Municipal streets including pavement surface care, sidewalks, traffic signals and signs and snow removal during the winter. This division oversees over 1,281 lane miles of roadway and 200 plus miles of sidewalks and trails.
Snow plows cannot safely clear the streets if cars are parked along them. Please move your vehicle(s) during your scheduled street maintenance day to allow our snow warriors to more quickly and safely cover the township’s lanes, avoid accidents and ensure that all roads are fully cleared from curb-to-curb.
It’s also important for homeowners to keep in mind that they are responsible for any damage caused by their own actions to the street trees on their properties. These activities include cutting, inflicting damage to a tree by machinery or storage materials, soil compaction, changing the natural grade above or around the trunk of a tree, excessive pruning, and the paving of with concrete, asphalt or other impervious material within such proximity to a tree as to negatively impact its aesthetic or physiological viability.
During snow events, city crews work around the clock to improve traffic conditions so emergency services, education and commerce can continue without interruption. Roads are treated with anti-icing and de-icing materials prior to snowfall. These substances, when applied to the roadway surface, induce a chemical freezing-point depression and delay the formation of ice on the pavement.
Plows clear snow on streets on a priority basis, with major arterials getting attention first. As the storm intensifies, the department will monitor weather reports and customized snow forecasts and adjust equipment to meet the intensity of a forecasted snow event.
Pre-treating roads with brine (salt) helps to reduce the bonding of snow and ice to the pavement surface. Streets with steep inclines, curves and bridges are also pre-treated to prevent dangerous conditions.
Snow removal requires the use of heavy trucks that are capable of pushing and throwing large quantities of snow. Whenever possible, obstacles in the rights-of-way are moved, such as curbs, fire hydrants, and benches to allow plows to move efficiently.
The law states that every owner, lessee, tenant, or occupant of any lot or building must remove the snow adjacent to the front of, beside and, if applicable, behind the property. Violators are subject to fines. It is also the responsibility of property owners to clear sidewalks in front of, alongside and behind their buildings. A wide path is especially helpful for those using wheelchairs or pushing strollers.