City Streets Department crews have been busy this week getting ready for this weekend's forecasted winter snow event.
Crews have been preparing snow removal equipment, making sure they are well-equipped with material and performing mechanical touch-ups. The latest forecasts call for rain to begin Friday evening and turn to snow in the early morning hours of Saturday.
"Our crews and equipment are ready," said City Streets Superintendent Dale Pfeifle. "We continue to monitor forecasts and receive updates from the National Weather Service. Our crews will be out monitoring road conditions and addressing any issues as the storm presents itself and we will react to changing conditions.
"As with most snow events, we encourage the public to always drive with caution whenever there are changing weather and road conditions, be courteous with fellow drivers; if you need to be out on the roads, allot extra time to get where you need to be and if you don't need to be out or you feel uncomforable driving in the conditions, stay put."
Here is a quick overview of the City's snow removal and plow policies:
SNOW REMOVAL POLICY (STREETS): The goal is to provide the motorist with the safest driving surface possible, in an efficient and economical manner, with the resources available. Initial service of streets during a snow/ice incident will be applications of sand, salt, liquid de-icer or a combination of these products. To reduce the amount of material used, flat level streets are not treated unless a special situation should exist. Other accepted chemicals may be used for maximum effectiveness.
Streets will be treated in the following order of priority:
*All arterial and emergency routes along with those streets having steep grades or other hazardous geometry and major intersections. Examples include Fifth Street to Rapid City Regional Hospital, Omaha Street, Mount Rushmore Road, Fairmont Boulevard, Saint Patrick Street, Jackson Boulevard, Sheridan Lake Road, Canyon Lake Drive.
*Street Department officials communicate closely with school officials regarding school closure decisions and closure decisions can influence priority decisions for snow removal.
*Collector and sub-collector streets and school routes. (Examples include: Elm Street from Fairmont to Minnesota; Parkview from Fairmont to Minnesota; West Boulevard from St. Joseph Street to Flormann Street)
CITY PLOWING POLICY: Snow plowing incidents will be divided into three levels of service. The service level will be determined by the Director of Public Works or his designee.
*Level A Response (approximately 2-4 inches of snow depth): This level of service will include the plowing of all arterial streets, emergency routes, streets with steep grades and other hazardous geometry, collector streets and major intersections. May include downtown snow removal.
*Level B Response (approximately 4-6 inches of snow depth): Sub-collector streets and some high traffic residential streets will be plowed in addition to those streets covered in 'Level A Response'. Included in this service will be downtown snow removal. Some work may be contracted with the private sector.
*Level C Response (greater than 6 inches of snow depth): All remaining Rapid City streets. Contractors will be hired so this service may be completed in the shortest period of time possible.
Driveway entrances will not be opened by City crews under routine plowing operations. City policy will be to remove snow from sidewalks on public bridges and from curb side sidewalks located on streets with four or more traffic lanes, on a predominantly residential street and on a school pedestrian route. This work will only be done after street plowing operations have been completed.
City crews plow streets from curb to curb to maintain surface drainage.