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Driving in winter weather can be treacherous due to freezing rain, ice and snow. The City of Corvallis Public Works Department is prepared to respond to winter weather conditions. We have a Snow and Ice policy that will be immediately put into action at the first sign of bad driving conditions.

If you have any questions about our removal plan, please contact
Corvallis Public Works at 541-766-6916.

Q: What is the overall purpose of your removal policy?
A: The purpose of this policy is to clarify and describe the City’s snow removal and sanding priorities and the level of service that is intended to be provided by City forces. The City does not guarantee that streets will be free of snow and ice after plowing and/or sanding. Bare, dry pavement should not be expected. The City will attempt to maintain adequate traction for vehicles properly equipped for winter driving conditions.

Q: In the event of bad weather, which City streets will be cleared first?
A: For snow and ice events, plowing and sanding in Corvallis are prioritized into four categories:

  1. High Priority-Main City streets and areas of significant importance with high traffic volume which must be kept open at all times, as resources allow. Streets and areas in this category include Good Samaritan Hospital, bus routes and pull-outs, main travel routes (i.e., Circle, Walnut, Kings) and the Central Business District (CBD). 
  2. Medium Priority-Main City streets and areas that are hilly such as Skyline West and Country Club, residential streets in hilly areas, and the Airport area. Support is provided to Oregon Department of Transportation bridges/highways should others be unable to provide coverage. 
  3. Low Priority-Residential streets and areas with lower traffic volume. 
  4. Lowest Priority-Low volume gravel streets, alleys, steep cul-de-sacs and/or streets that have a steep grade (greater than fifteen percent (15%)).

Q: How can I report hazardous road conditions?
A: Citizens may report problems or concerns to Public Works (541-766-6916) during regular business hours (M - F, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.). To report hazardous situations after hours, weekends or holidays, please call 911.

Q: Who clears the sidewalk in front of my business or residence?
A: All sidewalks and walkways adjacent to all City-owned and maintained property and public parking lots are cleaned by the City. All other public sidewalks and private parking lots are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.

Q: Will you be clearing bike paths?
A: We will attempt to plow or sand bike lanes on the streets; however, limited time and resources prevent us from plowing or sanding bike paths that are separate from the roadways.

Q: What should I move out of the street during snow and ice removal in my area?
A: All residents are asked to remove their parked vehicles, boats and trailers from all city streets if possible. The City will not be responsible for vehicles parked on the street that are isolated by snow piles due to plowing operations.

Q: The City plowed snow into my driveway and onto my sidewalk, when are they going to come back and clean it off?
A: Cleaning sidewalks and driveways that are plowed in by the City plows is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. It is the responsibility of the business persons and property owners to keep sidewalks in front of and adjacent to their business or property clean in the Central Business District.

 

Planning for a winter storm event can be difficult. The variations in rate of snowfall, moisture content, air/surface temperatures, micro-climates, time of day, and wind velocity make each storm a unique challenge.

The purpose of this policy is to clarify and describe the City’s snow removal and sanding priorities and the level of service that is intended to be provided by City forces. The City does not guarantee that streets will be free of snow and ice after plowing and/or sanding. Bare, dry pavement should not be expected. The City will attempt to maintain adequate traction for vehicles properly equipped for winter driving conditions.

It is the goal of this effort to establish general policies and procedures that help make travel within the City as safe as possible and to minimize economic hardship during those events.

THE FOUR PRIORITY CATEGORIES

For snow and ice events, streets/areas in Corvallis are prioritized into four categories. First priority are streets/areas of major importance and high traffic volume which must be kept open at all times, as resources allow. Streets/areas in this category include Good Samaritan Hospital, bus routes and pull-outs, arterial/collector streets and the Central Business District (CBD).

Second priority are streets/areas only slightly less important than the first priority streets. Streets/areas in this category include the Skyline West area, Country Club area, residential hilly areas, Airport, and Oregon Department of Transportation bridges/highways where others are unable to provide coverage.

Third priority are streets/areas of lower traffic volume. Streets/areas in this category include residential intersections and City-owned public parking lots.

Fourth priority are streets/areas that include low volume gravel streets, alleys, steep cul de sacs and/or streets that have a grade change in elevation greater than fifteen percent (15%).

LEVELS OF SERVICE

As staffing and funding allow, the following levels of service for snow and ice removal will be provided. Plowing and sanding will occur when it's determined that it is the best solution for the conditions that exist.

Priority One Streets - Plowing
Plowing will begin with Good Samaritan Hospital, bus routes and pull-outs, arterial/collector streets, and the CBD area when the accumulation of snow exceeds approximately two (2") inches and snow is continuing. The street accumulation is generally independent of the total accumulation of snow in the area. All priority one travel lanes will be plowed, and bike lanes if applicable, before plowing proceeds to any other areas.

Priority One Streets - Sanding
Sanding of streets will not occur while snow is still accumulating. Sanding will occur at Good Samaritan Hospital, on bus routes and pull outs, arterial/collector streets, and the CBD area after the accumulation of snow has slowed or stopped. Short- and long-range weather forecasting will play a major role in deciding when it's appropriate to apply sanding material. Sand will be applied at signalized intersections and/or grade changes where vehicle traffic needs to stop, start and/or traverse a street without losing traction or control of a vehicle.

Within the Corvallis Business District (CBD), when plowed snow has accumulated to the point that on-street parking becomes impractical, the accumulated snow will be trucked from the CBD area to a designated site for storage and disposal. The hauling of accumulated snow will only be initiated following the completion of snow plowing operations of priority one, two and three streets and only during a night-time shift.

Priority Two Streets - Plowing
Plowing will begin when accumulations of snow on the streets exceeds approximately two (2") inches and after all priority one streets have been plowed. Streets/areas in this category include the Skyline West area, Country Club area, residential hilly areas, Corvallis Municipal Airport, and Oregon Department of Transportation bridges/highways where others are unable to provide coverage.

Priority Two Streets - Sanding
Sanding of streets will not occur while snow is still accumulating. Sanding will occur to the above named streets/areas after the accumulation of snow has slowed or stopped. Sanding will be limited to elevation changes in the street right-of-way and major intersections with or without controlled stops.

Priority Three Streets - Plowing
Plowing operations will begin on streets/areas with low traffic volume, including residential intersections, OSU, and City-owned public parking lots. Plowing will occur when the accumulation of snow exceeds approximately four (4") inches and after the completion of plowing operations on priority one and two streets are completed or have established safe travel conditions.

Priority Three Streets - Sanding
Sanding of streets will not occur while snow is still accumulating. Sanding will occur to the above named streets/areas after the accumulation of snow has slowed or stopped. Sanding will be limited to elevation changes, curves, and major intersections with or without controlled stops on an as- needed basis.

Priority Four Streets - Plowing and Sanding
The City will not plow and/or sand streets in this category. Areas included in this category are unimproved streets, gravel streets, improved/unimproved alleys, and steep cul de sacs/streets with over fifteen percent (15%) grade(+/- depending upon severity of event, e.g., Osprey Place, Heron Place, Windsor Place).

SIDEWALKS AND PARKING LOTS

All sidewalks and walkways adjacent to City-owned and maintained property and public parking lots are cleaned by the City. All other public sidewalks and private parking lots are the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.

The City will attempt to prevent plowing snow onto sidewalks; however, the City will not clean sidewalks adjacent to private property. Windrows left by plows or graders will not be cleared from private driveways. Cleaning sidewalks and driveways that are plowed in by the City plows is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. It is the responsibility of the business persons and property owners to keep sidewalks in front of and adjacent to their business or property clean in the Central Business District.

Snow needs to be removed from public sidewalks and private parking lots within a reasonable length of time following the end of a snowfall event. The time frame for removal is related to several factors, such as the anticipated pedestrian traffic, amount of snowfall, and weather conditions. Public sidewalks not cleared within a reasonable time will be subject to code enforcement actions. In no case will a reasonable time be construed as more than 12 hours after snow has stopped falling.

PUBLIC NOTIFICATION

Snow and ice control is a very visible service and affects everyone who travels during the winter months. Therefore, communication between the City and citizens is important for the safety of the traveling public and personnel involved in the snow and ice control operation.

Depending on the severity and longevity of the event, the City of Corvallis will use a variety of means to communicate snow and ice control information as well as providing additional information and/or phone numbers of street/road conditions around the area and state. This will be accomplished through one or more of the following sources:

  • City web site
  • City Newsletter (in November of each year)
  • Corvallis Public Works Snow & Ice Information Line - 541-754-1771 - for up-to-date information on activities, areas of priority, street closures, areas to avoid, alternate modes of transportation, road report information telephone numbers
  • Press Release/Public Service announcements on local radio stations
  • Local cable television Public Access Channel 29 and Government Information Channel 21  

CITIZEN COOPERATION

In order to achieve the best possible results from the Public Works Department's snow and ice removal operations in the most efficient manner, all citizens of Corvallis are requested to cooperate fully with the Department. During snow emergencies and winter storm conditions, all residents are asked to remove their parked vehicles, boats and trailers from all city streets if possible. This will allow snow plows an opportunity to clear the streets quicker and with fewer passes, improve accessibility, and minimize risk of damage to private vehicles, saving both time and money.

The City will not be responsible for vehicles parked on the street that are isolated by snow piles due to plowing operations. All garbage and debris recycling containers should be placed behind the curb or in residential driveways at all times.

Snow removed from residential properties should not be stacked or stockpiled over the ends of culverts or catch basins. Rapid warming or thawing could overload drainage facilities, causing local flooding and/or possible property damage.

Drivers should ensure their vehicles have appropriate traction control devices for the existing conditions and for the type of vehicle being used. Traction control devices should be installed before driving during snow/ice events. Travelers are asked to consider using alternate modes of transportation whenever possible during snow and ice events. Corvallis Transit typically continues to operate during most snow and ice events.

DEPARTURE FROM POLICY

The City acknowledges the policies set forth in this program are of a general nature and recognizes conditions may be so unusual or unexpected that a departure from this general program may need to be authorized. The City Manager and/or Public Works Director may order a departure from these general policies when conditions are such that it's necessary for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the City of Corvallis. The City Manager or his/her designee is authorized to publicly announce that non-emergency travel is not recommended when conditions warrant such a warning.

This policy does not, nor is it intended to, encompass all details of the City of Corvallis snow and ice removal and control operations.

WINTER WEATHER DRIVING TIPS

Before we experience the first snowfall of the year, it's a good time to revisit some ideas for inclement weather, whether you're driving around town or around the state.

The following are some suggestions and helpful hints to consider whether you are driving to the store or to your favorite recreation area.

  • Consider using public transportationCTSPhilomath Connection and Beaver Bus buses operate during inclement weather and can maneuver through snow and ice easier than most lightweight personal vehicles. Call customer service to find out if your route is running on schedule to decrease your wait time.
  • Buckle up.
  • Drive with your headlights on.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Allow plenty of room between you and the vehicle ahead.
  • Plan and know your route.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
  • Let someone know your destination and return time.
  • Try to keep a full tank of gas.
  • Have your vehicle serviced regularly.

If you start to slide or lose control of your vehicle:

  • Minimize the use of your brakes.
  • Steer into your slide.
  • Avoid over-acceleration.

Items you should carry with you:

  • Traction devices that fit
  • Gloves and a warm coat
  • A tarp to lie on when installing traction devices
  • Flashlight
  • Flares
  • Sleeping bag and/or a woolen blanket
  • A stash of candy bars/nuts/granola
  • A thermos with something warm to drink
Last updated: 2/6/2014 9:30:42 AM