What's News in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

Snow Plowing Update
Both snow plowing and salting help control winter road hazards. The effectiveness of snow removal and deicing efforts varies with the conditions of each snowfall. The information here offers a brief look at how the Pleasant Prairie snow plowing crew works to keep Village roads clear. It will also give you an idea of what you can reasonably expect on Village roads during snowfall events.

The Village snow plowing crew consists of staff from the Streets, Parks, Sanitation, Sewer and Water Departments. Staff in these areas will work their regular, full-time workday, but will also be the same crew you see plowing during early morning, evening and nighttime hours. There is only one “shift” for the crew. During longer periods of snowfall, the same plow driver you see at 3:30 in the morning will most likely be the same one you see at 10:30 that same night. Those operating snow plows are trained and tested on the complex systems at work in the truck.

Sixteen Village snow plows maintain approximately 125 centerline miles of roadway in the Village. The average snow plow route is eight centerline miles long. Once you account for plowing both sides of the street, and in some instances, two passes on each side, the distance covered increases to between 16 and 24 lane miles. Completing an entire route, start to finish, will take a driver four hours. During extended periods of snowfall, this means, that once the driver completes plowing on your street, it will typically take another four hours to cycle through the rest of the route and return to your street. When snow is falling at a fast rate, as it has this winter and last, several inches of snow may accumulate while the driver is completing the rest of his route.

Deicer is applied to the roadway during almost every snowfall event, usually during the last pass through the street, so it is not removed along with the snow. The Village adds an additional component to salt for deicing. Magnesium chloride (in liquid form) is sprayed onto the salt to activate it just before it is spread onto the road. It is a non-corrosive, environmentally friendly, liquid deicer that makes the salt more effective at lower road temperatures. Road salt alone will remain effective until the road temperature reaches approximately 10 degrees (F). Magnesium chloride makes the salt effective until the road temperature reaches minus 15 degrees (F). There is typically a five degree difference between the road and air temperatures depending upon the time of day and weather conditions.

Each of the 16 snow plow trucks have been equipped with ground speed sensor technology. A ground speed sensor enables the plow driver to automatically apply the DOT recommended amounts of salt and magnesium chloride to the roadway, regardless of the speed at which the truck is traveling. The installation of these sensors offers both cost saving and environmental (Clean Water) benefits through the more efficient use of road salt stores. The Village expects to use between 500 and 600 fewer tons of salt per season with the technology.

On days with snowfall, you can still expect your garbage and recycling to be collected on your scheduled collection day. Typically, there is little, if any, delay in staff beginning their collection routes. You may see, however, the same staff members operating plows prior to and after their regular workday hours.

During an average winter season, the Village will use nearly 3,000 tons of road salt. Last season, the Village used 5,500 tons, due to the above average amounts of snowfall. So far this season, we have received more snowfall than at the same point last year. Staff expects to use a similar amount of salt this season, depending on what the rest of the season has in store. Should the Village use close to this amount by the end of the season, staff plans to approach the Village Board with a request to purchase additional salt during the summer months. The Village purchases salt through a State bidding contract for approximately $36 per ton.

Back to News