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Metro Newsroom

Mayor Declares City Ready for Snow

Thursday November 1, 2007

New shift, new equipment to improve speed of response

Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced the city has created a new work shift and purchased new equipment to improve Louisville’s snow-removal response – making it more efficient and effective.

“We’ve looked at our snow response from every possible angle – from employees to equipment to our partner agencies,” said Abramson. “We have found ways to make our snow team faster and stronger than ever before, and that means we’ll keep people safe on the roads when the snow starts to fall.”

For the first time, the Public Works Department is implementing a night shift during the winter months for snow operations and pothole repairs. Having a regularly-scheduled shift of workers overnight means crews can begin treating roads immediately without having to wait for workers to drive in from home. On evenings without snow and ice, work crews will repair potholes.

“I’m very pleased that our Public Works Department has found a way to get our snow crews on the road even more quickly,” said Deputy Mayor Rick Johnstone. “As a bonus, on clear nights, overnight pothole repair means fewer work-related delays during heavy drive times and a significant savings in overtime pay for taxpayers.”

This fall, the city purchased five new brine distributors – bringing the city’s total to 15. The distributors attach to dump trucks and each hold 1,300 gallons of solution. The new equipment will allow crews to increase the miles of road that are pretreated before a storm. Brine solution helps prevent ice from bonding to roads.

“If a storm is forecast, the brine distributors allow us to fight freezing roads before the temperature ever starts to drop,” said Abramson, adding the brine solution has been an effective preventive treatment during the past two years.

The Louisville Metro snow team – which includes Louisville Metro Public Works, Solid Waste Management Services, Metro Parks and the Metropolitan Sewer District - has 257 employees and 129 pieces of equipment to clear 1,047 miles of road in Louisville.

Online Snow-Route Map Tracks Progress in Real Time
Operators of the “Snow Command” control room and citizens will once again have a progress map at their fingertips that will allow coordinators to track crews’ work as they fan out across the community. Drivers will radio into the control room when a route is complete, “Snow Command” will enter the information into a computer and the route will change colors to indicate it has been salted or plowed. The map is updated in real time.

Residents also may log on to at any time during the year to view the Louisville Metro Government snow routes. Click on the “My Louisville” section of the website and type in a ZIP code and address.

City Snow Routes
The city is responsible for clearing about one-third of the 3,000 miles of roadway in the county. City snow routes are major roads, school and TARC bus routes, arteries to local employers and hospital and emergency routes. The state and private contractors clear about 1,000 miles and the remaining 1,000 miles are neighborhood streets that are not cleared.

“We want residents to understand that our priorities are clearing roads that keep schools in session, major businesses operating and critical emergency services functioning in Louisville,” said Abramson.

For more information about the snow plan call MetroCall at 311 or log on to

Snow and Ice Removal by the Numbers

  • 3,047 miles of roads in Louisville
    • 1,047 miles cleared by Louisville Metro Public Works
    • 1,000 miles cleared by state of Kentucky, small cities and private contractors
    • 1,000 miles are neighborhood streets and less-traveled roads that are not cleared
  • The first roads cleared are:
    • Main thoroughfares school bus and TARC routes
    • Hospital routes
    • Highly-traveled secondary roads with hills or curves
    • Connectors to major businesses or factories
  • Four Louisville Metro agencies responsible for snow removal
    • Public Works
    • Solid Waste Management Services
    • Metro Parks
    • Metropolitan Sewer District
  • 257 employees from four agencies coordinate snow removal
  • 129 pieces of equipment in the Louisville Metro snow-fighting fleet
  • 5 new brine distributors purchased to pre treat roads; 15 brine distributors in fleet
  • 39,000 tons of salt available for treating roads
  • 19,000 tons of salt on hand at 7 storage facilities, including 4 domes
  • 20,000 tons of salt stored underground for emergency reserve.
  • 18.1 inches – average yearly snowfall in Louisville.
  • 15.9 inches - record 24-hour snowfall (January 16, 1994)