Click here to close now.

Welcome!

News Feed Item

Behind the Storm -- The Crucial Role of Public Works in Winter Storm Fighting

KANSAS CITY, MI--(Marketwired - February 27, 2014) - Recent winter storms and blizzards have challenged North American communities, who may or may not be accustomed to seeing snow and sleet. Check out the APWA "Behind the Storm - Role of Public Works in Winter Storm fighting" Fact Sheet to learn more about how public works provides vital services to cities, counties, towns, states, and provinces during snow and ice storms and severe winter weather emergencies.

What agencies respond during Winter Storm Emergencies?

When winter storms occur, the local Public Works Departments and State/ Provincial Departments of Transportation (DOTs) in the U.S. and Canada are the primary government agencies responsible for snow and ice control. They must plan and prepare year-round, and anticipate storms in order to provide safety and mobility on highways, roads and streets. Snow and ice storms severely disrupt surface travel and create hazardous conditions that cause thousands of accidents annually. The toll from fatalities, injuries, property and vehicle damage and disruptions to commerce is in the billions of dollars each year. Other routine activities, such as work, medical, educational, religious, social and sporting events and appointments are affected by cancellations due to the weather. Therefore, winter weather snow and ice control operations are one of the most vital functions of Public Works.

How do public works agencies plan for Winter Storm Emergencies?

While most of Canada and the U.S. routinely experience winter storms to some degree, even the southern regions have been hit with winter events that overwhelm the limited capabilities of those agencies. In many towns, cities, counties and states/provinces throughout most of North America, what seems to be increasingly severe winters has focused the attention of officials on snow equipment, material stockpiles, and keeping a well-trained and ready workforce of snow fighters. Most people don't think about snow removal until a storm hits. When it does, agencies struggle to meet expected levels of service, which often leads to the public's criticism of winter operations. Winter weather road operations have always had to contend with other functions and services for funding. Often winter maintenance-related items seem to be one of their first to be reduced in times of budgetary cutbacks, especially when warmer weather has prevailed. The foundation of an effective Winter Operations Plan is the establishment of Levels of Service, which are typically based on a jurisdiction's classification of roads and streets. This prioritizes every highway, road and street primarily by traffic volumes, patterns and criticality. Of course, the heavily traveled arterials will rank higher than a much lower traffic volume residential street or alley. Streets that provide access to major commercial and industrial areas, transportation hubs such as train stations and airports, hospitals and fire stations, and schools may be ranked highly because of their criticality.

How are Levels of Service involved in snow and ice control?

Levels of Service are defined to help determine what resources will need to be allocated to meet the agency's winter maintenance goals. For instance, nearly all agencies will attempt to obtain bare pavement in every throughway and turn lane of major highway or arterial street within hours of a "typical" snowfall. For collector streets and minor arterials, the time period to obtain the same standard may be longer. Residential streets, alleys and limited service roads (such as in parks) may not be plowed at all unless the snow exceeds a certain threshold. Plowing may be minimal or just a track in the center. All jurisdictions -- towns, cities, counties, special road districts and tollway authorities, tribal, states, provinces, at risk of snow and ice should have a Winter Maintenance Policy or Operations Plan. This will address priorities, Levels of Service, tiered response strategies depending on type and intensity of storms, handling special emergency situations selection and use of materials, composition (type and number) of equipment fleet organizational structure and roles, staffing, training, communications and tracking, weather forecasts and current conditions reports, as well as documentation, risk management and public information. This includes declaring a snow emergency and enacting parking restrictions and vehicle requirements. It should also clearly state what it is not responsible for (sidewalks and private streets for example, and roads maintained by others). A sound Winter Operations Policy and Plan is the blueprint for providing this vital service in the most efficient, effective and equitable manner.

How do Public Works agencies prepare winter storm strategies and tactics?

The preparation for and commencement of snow and ice control operations, as well as overall practices and methods, is contingent upon varying conditions. For instance, the Snow Operations Manager will determine when to begin preparation for an anticipated storm based on contracted weather service reports. Weather is quite changeable as storms approach and Snow Managers often adjust their tentative plans. Still, most tend to take a proactive approach as considerable time is needed to have crews ready. Public Works personnel are notified when to report for duty and the public is typically informed of issues such as parking bans, road conditions, and cancellations through a variety of sources. When feasible, the public works crews will pre-treat bridges, overpasses and hills with salt brine or other materials prior to when the snowfall is expected. The types and application rates of the materials selected depends on several factors: present and forecasted pavement temperatures, wind direction and speed, type and amount of precipitation, current pavement conditions, priority classification, availability of materials and equipment and environmental considerations. Advances in material science and application technology have provided snow fighters with a more current and versatile "toolbox."

Public Works snow fighters -- including operators, dispatchers, mechanics, clerks and supervisors and auxiliary personnel from other divisions and departments -- work long hours in often hazardous conditions and severe weather to keep roads safe and streets safely passable for the public. No matter the duration of winter storms, whether shorter or longer, public works agencies are in essence partners with the public. Area citizens can work during the winter storms to help the public works crews by restricting trips to those that are truly necessary and allowing more time. Also, drivers can aid Public Works storm fighters by going slowly, and creating greater gaps between cars on snow and ice-covered roads.

For more information about public works and winter storm fighting, visit the American Public Works Association (APWA) website at www.apwa.net, or the 2014 North American Snow Conference - "The Show for Snow" website area at www.apwa.net/snow. Media are invited to inquire about role of public works and winter storm fighting by contacting Media Relations Manager Laura Bynum at [email protected], and may attend the 2014 Snow Conference during May 4-7 in Cincinnati, OH by registering with APWA Media Relations Manager, Laura Bynum at: [email protected].

The American Public Works Association (www.apwa.net) is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 28,500 members involved in the field of public works. APWA serves its members by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy and the exchange of knowledge. APWA is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, has an office in Washington, D.C. and 63 chapters in North America. 

The following files are available for download:

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
Manufacturing has widely adopted standardized and automated processes to create designs, build them, and maintain them through their life cycle. However, many modern manufacturing systems go beyond mechanized workflows to introduce empowered workers, flexible collaboration, and rapid iteration. Such behaviors also characterize open source software development and are at the heart of DevOps culture, processes, and tooling.
SYS-CON Events announced today that JFrog, maker of Artifactory, the popular Binary Repository Manager, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based in California, Israel and France, founded by longtime field-experts, JFrog, creator of Artifactory and Bintray, has provided the market with the first Binary Repository solution and a software distribution social platform.
"We got started as search consultants. On the services side of the business we have help organizations save time and save money when they hit issues that everyone more or less hits when their data grows," noted Otis Gospodnetić, Founder of Sematext, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at th...
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult – let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and liv...
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Malicious agents are moving faster than the speed of business. Even more worrisome, most companies are relying on legacy approaches to security that are no longer capable of meeting current threats. In the modern cloud, threat diversity is rapidly expanding, necessitating more sophisticated security protocols than those used in the past or in desktop environments. Yet companies are falling for cloud security myths that were truths at one time but have evolved out of existence.
The cloud has transformed how we think about software quality. Instead of preventing failures, we must focus on automatic recovery from failure. In other words, resilience trumps traditional quality measures. Continuous delivery models further squeeze traditional notions of quality. Remember the venerable project management Iron Triangle? Among time, scope, and cost, you can only fix two or quality will suffer. Only in today's DevOps world, continuous testing, integration, and deployment upend...
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes. In his session at DevOps Summit, Michael Demmer, VP of Engineering at Jut, will discuss how this can...
"A lot of the enterprises that have been using our systems for many years are reaching out to the cloud - the public cloud, the private cloud and hybrid," stated Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
The most often asked question post-DevOps introduction is: “How do I get started?” There’s plenty of information on why DevOps is valid and important, but many managers still struggle with simple basics for how to initiate a DevOps program in their business. They struggle with issues related to current organizational inertia, the lack of experience on Continuous Integration/Delivery, understanding where DevOps will affect revenue and budget, etc. In their session at DevOps Summit, JP Morgenthal...
In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist of Cloud Services at VMware, reviewed the changes that the cloud computing industry has gone through over the last five years and shared insights into what the next five will bring. He also chronicled the challenges enterprise companies are facing as they move to the public cloud. He delved into the "Hybrid Cloud" space and explained why every CIO should consider ‘hybrid cloud' as part of their future strategy to achi...
In the midst of the widespread popularity and adoption of cloud computing, it seems like everything is being offered “as a Service” these days: Infrastructure? Check. Platform? You bet. Software? Absolutely. Toaster? It’s only a matter of time. With service providers positioning vastly differing offerings under a generic “cloud” umbrella, it’s all too easy to get confused about what’s actually being offered. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hazard, Director of Digital Content for SoftL...