Each winter storm is slightly different and requires different approaches as it relates to
snow and ice management. That is the reason Columbia Public Works has a basic plan
which can be modified before and during the storm. Basic policies are set forth with approval
from staff and council.
Please note these policy guidelines which relate to the plowing and treating of Columbia streets:
The City of Columbia defines streets as passable, that although the road may still be snow packed, at least one travel lane is
accessible for a front wheel drive vehicle at speeds and driving conditions below the normal posted speed limits. Your vehicles
condition and your driving skills also determine your ability to navigate roads defined as passable.
For snow events with less than 4 inches of snow:
For snow events with more than 4 inches of snow:
The City Channel has produced a video which highlights the city's policies and processes for snow removal - click here
Below is a general outline of the steps we undertake to keep Columbia's streets passable
during winter storms.
Before snow falls -
We monitor forecasts and consult with our weather service provider as to what types of precipitation will fall, amounts, and timing.
If road surface temperatures, forecast air temperatures, and precipitation types are favorable for applying anti-icing materials to road surfaces, we begin that process.
We use a liquid brine solution which may be mixed with natural beet juice. If rain proceeds the snow/ice, we may not pre-treat as the rain may wash treatment materials off of the road.
When snow begins -
When snow starts falling, we begin plowing the 1st and 2nd priority routes. We may also apply a deicer such as dry salt or dry salt wetted with calcium chloride to assist with melting any snow which may be falling or left on the road after plowing.
If snow accumulations exceed 2 inches, we activate the snow routes and send out notices to tell motorist to remove their vehicles from snow routes. Click here to sign up for alerts.
After 1st and 2nd priority routes are clear -
When we have completed the 1st and 2nd priority routes, we then move onto non-priority routes. We plow and may treat non-priority routes during normal business hours if the snow accumulations are less than 4 inches. When snow accumulations exceed 4 inches, we utilize overtime crews until all roads are passable.
We encourage residents to move their vehicles off of the street, even if they are not on a priority snow route, so that we can complete our task more efficiently.
The removal process is dependent on the type(s) of precipitation, depth, temperature of air and pavement and timing of winter weather events.
The City of Columbia subscribes to a customized weather forecast provided by Weather or Not, Inc. to obtain up to the minute forecast information for expected precipitation.