During snow storms, roads are salted and plowed in order of priority beginning with Snow Emergency Routes, which are mainly state highways and major thoroughfares, as well as various hills in the borough. At the beginning of a snow storm each truck operator proceeds to their designated area and applies salt on the Snow Emergency Routes and designated hills.
Snow Plow Trucks
The trucks then move on to minor roads and residential areas, to the alleys, and then the municipal parking lots. The lots at the borough buildings are also cleared of snow, usually by front-end loaders brought in to supplement the plow vehicles. 7 snow plow trucks are normally dispatched for a routine snow storm:
2 are assigned to the Snow Emergency Routes
A truck is assigned to each of the 4 quadrants
An additional truck is assigned to the upper decks of the parking garages
Since 2004 the Public Works Department has adopted the use of a snow fighting technology known as anti-icing. What is anti-icing? It is a proactive approach to winter storm management that involves the application of a 23% brine, or saltwater, solution to speed up the melting process and prohibit the bond between the cold pavement and the snow accumulation on top.
2 techniques are currently used. First, the direct application of brine on to the roads from the back of a distribution truck, approximately 24 hours before the snow event. This application places saltwater right on the pavement and allows the salt to melt the accumulated snow long before the regular salting operation is underway.
Next, several of the borough's snow removal trucks have been outfitted with brine tanks that pre-wet the salt just before it is spread onto streets. This pre-wetting of the salt allows the melting action to begin immediately upon hitting the pavement surface, and the wet salt tends to "bite" into snow-covered roads instead of bouncing off into the gutter. Thus, less salt is needed and the reduced salt application is far more effective. Department personnel have experimented with application rates over the past winter seasons, and have been able to make on-going improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the snow fighting operation through the use of brine.