You are here

AN AGGRESSIVE APPROACH TO SNOW CLEARING - IMPROVING SAFETY ON RIVER CROSSINGS

For immediate release: February 1, 2015 - 4:55pm
TU14-106

CITY ADOPTS “AGRESSIVE APPROACH” FOR BRIDGE & OVERPASS SNOW CLEARING

The City has changed the way it clears snow from bridges and overpasses.  This action follows concerns that on December 30, 2013, accumulated snow along the barriers on the Circle Drive North bridge aided an out of control vehicle to jump the barrier and fall into the river.

“The City is extremely thankful the woman involved in this incident was able to get to safety without major injury and it wishes her a quick recovery,” Pat Hyde, Director of Public Works says.

At the meeting of City Council Monday evening January 6, 2014, Jeff Jorgenson, General Manager of Transportation & Utilities, advised Council and the public that he has directed an “aggressive approach” to the snow clearing practices on City bridges and overpasses.

“We have a new approach to clearing snow along the bridges and overpasses to prevent something like this from happening to anyone else,” Jorgensen says.

The City took immediate action to remove the snow following the incident and is using new procedures for regular clearing that will minimize the accumulation of snow along the guard rails and barriers.

“When a major snow fall occurs, snow is cleared first along Circle Drive, including the bridges and overpasses because of the high traffic and high speeds,” Jorgenson says. “Snow will be temporarily stored along the barriers in a safe manner, with crews returning to remove it from the high-traffic bridges within 48 hours.”

Previously, there was a maximum height allowance before snow was removed.  Over the past two weeks, engineers and crews have been modifying various methods to safely and effectively remove the snow quickly and efficiently.  Crews will begin removing accumulated snow along Circle Drive tonight, beginning with the outside lanes, using this new format:

  1. A grader and a front-loader will plow it into a ridge,
  2. A snow blower follows to remove it, and
  3. Trucks will haul it away to the snow storage facilities or, in some cases, the snow can be safely stored at either end of the bridge, away from the roadway.

Signage will be in place to direct traffic around the work zone for the safety of crews and drivers.  Drivers are reminded to watch for signs, slow down and use extreme caution when passing this large equipment. Snow removal priority is the Circle Drive North and South bridges, and the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge, followed by ten high-speed overpasses (22nd Street, for example), the Broadway and University bridges, and then the remaining overpasses. Drivers may notice accumulation along these areas, but there are strict monitoring procedures in place to ensure no safety hazards exist.