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Metro Newsroom

Mayor Declares City Ready for Snow

Thursday October 29, 2009

New this year: City to clear most state highways

Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced the city has added new ways to keep roads clear and prevent potholes as part of Louisville’s snow-removal response – making it more efficient and effective.

“When winter weather threatens our city, keeping people safe on our roads is our top priority,” Abramson said. “It’s important that we keep our city moving – students need to be in school and workers need to be on the job. These new tools will help ensure we fight snow quickly and effectively.”

The Louisville Metro snow team – which includes Louisville Metro Public Works, Solid Waste Management Services, Metro Parks and the Metropolitan Sewer District - has 293 employees and 169 pieces of equipment to clear 1,362 miles of road in Louisville.

The snow team has added new snow fighting equipment and will treat more roads than ever before. They will continue successful practices like the overnight shift and the interactive snow route maps.

· The city purchased 36 new vehicles, including 8 new brine distributors, in order to maintain an additional 315 miles of state highways that have been incorporated into the snow plan. As part of a new agreement with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Louisville crews now maintain most state roads and highways in Louisville. While the state will continue to clear interstates, the Louisville Snow Team will take over roads like Breckinridge Lane and Beulah Church Road.

· The Snow Team has added more brine routes -- from 700 miles to more than 900 miles. Those routes are major thoroughfares like Shelbyville Road and Dixie Highway. It’s important to pre-treat the most heavily traveled roads as soon as the forecast calls for snow. Crews will use IceProof in the brine mixture, which allows them to apply brine to roads even when the temperature drops to single digits.

· The Public Works Department will add crews to its night shift for snow operations and pothole repairs (to account for additional state highway miles). Overnight workers can begin treating roads without having to wait for workers to drive in from home. On evenings without snow and ice, crews will repair potholes and road cracks that create potholes – that means fewer repairs during heavy drive times and a significant savings in overtime pay for taxpayers.

· Public Works Director Ted Pullen is the city’s new “snow czar” will coordinate the city’s snow removal efforts.

The Snow Team has made a number of changes over the past several years that have drastically improved street treatments and clearing practices. Some of those include:

· Last year’s addition of IceProof, a brine additive, allows crews to pre-treat roads with brine, even when the temperature hits 0 degrees – which helps keep roads safer in the earliest stages of snowfall.

· The addition of an overnight shift of Snow Team workers allows for immediate response to snow, instead of calling out crews from their homes. The shift reduces overtime and allows crews to repair potholes when the weather isn’t threatening.

· The city purchased its own brine machine, which makes 5,000 gallons of brine an hour. Brine costs about two cents per gallon to make, which is an extremely affordable way to protect roads. The brine is stored at five strategic locations throughout the city.

· Operators of the “Snow Command” control room and citizens have a progress map at their fingertips that allows coordinators to track crews’ work as they fan out across the community. Drivers 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 within moments of routes being completed.

Residents also may log on to at any time 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.

The city is responsible for clearing about 1,362 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 700 miles and the remaining 1,000 miles are neighborhood streets that are not cleared.

“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