Trucks with plows, including one of the city's newest trucks (right), are loaded up with salt and sand on Wednesday at the Cedar Rapids city streets complex in preparation for the blizzard forecast for Wednesday and Thursday (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Crews scurried Wednesday to make final preparations for the up to 12 or more inches of snow forecast for Eastern Iowa through tonight.
Here’s a look at some of the resources that will be used.
- Equipment: 96 vehicles with plows, including dump trucks, pickups, graders, end loaders and tractors; 36 of the vehicles have spreaders
- Crew: 100-plus employees from three departments
- Salt/sand on hand: 5,000 tons of salt; 1,000 tons of sand; 1,000 tons of salt/sand mix
- Miles of streets: 620-plus miles or 1,600 lane miles*
- Timing/strategy: 10,000 gallons of salt brine (10 tons of salt in the mix) applied pre-storm; plowing/spreading begins immediately in big storm
- Snow-related budget: Salt budget is $821,674; overtime budget, $108,000
- Equipment: Seven plow trucks, two end loaders
- Crew: Seven employees
- Salt/sand on hand: 600 tons of straight salt; 200 tons of salt/sand mix
- Miles of streets: 75 straight miles, 150 lane miles*
- Timing/strategy: Drivers leave work at 3:30 p.m. as normal if the storm hasn’t started yet, and get called back in when needed; police notify of deteriorating conditions overnight.
- Snow-related budget: Annual budget is $150,000, which covers overtime costs, equipment and supplies. Of that figure, $80,000 is for salt and sand.
- Equipment: 12 motor graders and 14 plow trucks
- Crew: 28 employees
- Sand/salt on hand: Under contract for 800 tons of salt this year
- Miles of roads: 1,150 miles of gravel and paved roads
- Timing/strategy: No plan applies to all storms; will pull plows if there are white-out conditions that make it unable to see and unsafe for employees; with 3 to 4 inches of snow and ideal operations, all roads can be covered once in 10 hours.
- Snow-related budget: $440,000
- Equipment: 12 snow plows (one for each snow route); end loaders and graders used as back up units.
- Crew: 27 employees
- Salt/sand on hand: 2,800 tons of salt; 800 tons of salt/sand mix.
- Miles of streets: 380 lane miles*
- Timing/strategy; Depends on type of precipitation. Examples: Bridges and roads treated with materials in freezing rain; plowing begins after more than 1 inch of snow accumulates
- Snow-related budget: $500,000 to $600,000 spent in typical year
- Equipment: Three plow/sander trucks, end-loader with plow and wing, four plow-equipped pickups
- Crew: Six employees
- Salt/sand on hand: 100 tons salt, 200 tons sand (all left over from last winter).
- Miles of streets: 40 miles of streets to plow, plus sidewalks and city-owned parking lots.
- Timing/strategy: Expected to start at midnight
- Snow-related budget: $70,000
STATE OF IOWA
- Equipment: 900 snowplow trucks, each equipped with a material spreading system to dispense both liquid and dry de-icing materials
- Crew: 1,200 snowplow operators, mechanics and supervisors at 110 maintenance garages
- Salt/sand on hand: 200,000 tons of rock salt stored at 113 delivery points is used each winter; more than 12 million gallons of salt brine has been used in 10 years.
- Miles of roads: 9,000 miles of highways, many multilane, which figures out to about 24,700 lane-miles.*
- Timing/strategy: Plows typically operate 24 hours a day, but the more than 65,000 combinations of winter storms that can hit Iowa pose unique problems.
- Snow-related budget: $35 million (2007, latest year available)
IOWA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT 6
- Equipment: 171 snow removal trucks, eight motor graders, 20 end loaders, 16 snowblower attachments
- Crew: 193 employees
- Salt/sand on hand: 45,100 tons of salt; 11,385 tons of sand; nearly 3.9 million gallons of salt brine and calcium chloride at 16 garages
- Miles of roads: 1,476 miles of highways and ramps with a total of 4,128 lane miles* in Benton, Buchanan, Cedar, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Iowa, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Scott counties.
- Timing/strategy: See state if Iowa entry
- Budget: Not available Wednesday
- Equipment: 18 tandem axle dump trucks, equipped with a front plow; 11 motor graders that can push snow on gravel roads.
- Crew: 33 employees something breaks down.
- Salt/sand on hand: Each truck can carry 15 tons, but they won’t have full loads for this storm because of the winds expected.
- Miles of roads: More than 800 miles, including 250 miles of paved roads and 570 miles of gravel roads
- Timing/strategy: Primary trucks slated to head out around 4 p.m. today; motor graders will be sent out if 4 inches or more accumulates on gravel roads,
- Snow-related budget: Not immediately available, but resources are abundant after last year’s mild winter.
- Equipment: Five large plow/sanding trucks, two pickups with plows, one tractor with a 10-foot plow, one end loader and one road maintainer with a wing. Also hire tandem trucks to haul snow out of the 22-block downtown area.
- Crew: 10 employees
- Sand/salt on hand: 400 tons of salt; 200 tons of sand/salt/calcium chloride combo
- Miles of streets: 35 miles of streets, 15 miles of alleys (also clear some sidewalks)
- Timing/strategy: Expecting to start plowing at 2 a.m. today and likely will continue 12 to 14 hours today, 12 to 14 hours on Friday and some cleanup on Saturday
- Snow-related budget: $100,000
- Equipment: Five large plows and sanders, two small ones, an end loader with a blade on the front, a road grader with a wing on it that will likely be used tonight, and an 8-foot snowblower for high-drift areas.
- Crew: Seven employees
- Salt/sand on hand: About 650 tons of salt and about the same amount of sand/salt mix.
- Miles of streets: 148 miles
- Timing/strategy: Probably work until 10 p.m. last night, and then some of the crew will go home; those workers will relieve overnight workers at 3 a.m. and then the whole crew will be out in full force early in the morning.
- Snow-related budget: Around $50,000 for sand and salt and $25,000 for overtime.
* One mile of one lane of road equals one lane mile
Curated by Gazette staff; Sources: City streets, county road departments, Iowa Department of Transportation
Trucks with plows are loaded up with salt and sand at the Cedar Rapids city streets complex on Wednesday. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)