ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING (Nov. 27, 2019) — Just in time for the winter weather, the City of Rock Springs Streets Department has posted its Snow & Ice Guide on the city’s website.
City Snow & Ice Control Capability
The city normally fields four snowplow trucks, operating around the clock if necessary and within operator safety measures and budgetary constraints.
With over 108 Miles (280 Lane Miles) of streets, first priority must be the main arterial/collector streets providing access to emergency services, major community centers and schools.
As with most communities in Wyoming, the city does not have the resources to plow residential streets on a routine basis. During a winter storm event, the main objective is to keep the major city streets passable, within the limitations imposed by weather conditions, the availability of resources, and environmental concerns.
After the storm event, if the above constraints allow, the city will try to plow residential areas as needed to make them passable. A “passable roadway” is defined as a roadway surface that is free from drifts, snow ridges, and as much ice and snow pack as is practical and can be traveled safely at reasonable speeds.
A “passable roadway should not be confused with “dry pavement” or “bare pavement” which is essentially free of all ice, snow, and any moisture from shoulder to shoulder. This “dry/bare pavement” condition may not exist for days or weeks, depending on the weather conditions.
The definition of “reasonable speed” is considered a speed that a vehicle can travel without losing traction. During and immediately following a winter storm event, a reasonable speed will most likely be much lower than the posted or normal speed limit. Motorists can expect some inconvenience and will be expected to modify their driving practices to suit roadway conditions.
The capability of the City will decrease when subsequent winter storm events happen at a frequency where it is not possible to obtain passable roadway conditions and subsequently bare pavement between events.
The severity of a winter storm event, roadway/ambient temperatures, wind, and available resources along with other factors will dictate how soon passable roadway conditions and subsequently bare pavement can be obtained.
What You Can Do To Help
Here are some tips people can follow to help out with snow removal efforts:
- Park your vehicle off the street where possible. Park in garages, driveways or on low priority streets whenever possible. This allows more room for the plows to operate, decreases the chance of your vehicle being hit by other sliding vehicles, and will protect your vehicle from being buried by snow banks built from plowed snow.
- DO NOT shovel the snow from your driveway and sidewalks into the roadways. It is illegal and against City Ordinance, and it will decrease the depth of those cursed windrows that are plowed across your driveway.
- On days during and after a storm event, please do not drive unless it is absolutely necessary. Less traffic on the roadways means fewer mishaps and accidents and will allow the snow control operations to be performed with less conflict.
Common Questions & Answers
1. Why doesn’t the city plow residential streets?
Once the necessary priority streets have been cleared, the city will attempt to plow residential streets enough to make them passable. This may not take place for several days or even weeks after a major storm event or successive events. We do not routinely plow residential streets that are passable because of limited resources and the problem of where to put the snow. A windrow along the side of the street blocks cars and driveways and takes much longer to melt when the weather turns warmer.
2. Why do you always plow snow on my sidewalk after I have cleared it?
We realize this is very frustrating and apologize for the inconvenience. Our snow plow drivers are instructed to keep from getting snow on the sidewalks as much as possible. However, with some streets, there is simply nowhere to put the snow other than over the curb and onto the attached sidewalk.
3. Why don’t the snow plow operators go slow so they don’t throw snow up onto the sidewalks and driveways?
We try not to throw snow onto the sidewalks and driveways, but slowing down is not always the answer. Slower means less roads that get plowed and sometimes the trucks lose traction at slower speeds and cannot move the snow effectively. We have been told that plows are going 40 to 50 mph up and down the roadways. This is not the case and it may seem these large trucks are going faster, in reality they are only going 20 to 25 mph.
4. Why doesn’t the city purchase more equipment so they can plow residential streets?
Considering the relative few days that we have snow and the fact that it normally stays only for a few days, it is not economically feasible to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for the manpower and equipment to have this capability.
Removal of Snow and Ice from Sidewalks
City Ordinance requires that property owners and/or occupants must remove snow, ice or slush from sidewalks within 24 hours following a snowfall.
City Ordinance also prohibits the piling of snow, ice or slush from sidewalks, parking areas, and driveways into public streets in a way that create a safety hazard for vehicles or pedestrians and/or causes a drainage issue.
Please do not pile snow, ice and/or slush on the storm sewer inlets/drains. This plugs them up and when melting occurs, it causes flooding issues.
Snow & Ice Control Priority Plan
Priority I Streets – These streets generally include principal arterial and collector streets, for example, Elk Street, Dewar Drive, Grant Street, Stagecoach, etc.; emergency access routes for ambulance, fire and police; streets near schools; and streets with steep grades or potentially hazardous intersections.
Priority II Streets – These streets generally include minor collector and high traffic residential streets such as Cascade, North Belt Route (Railroad), Prairie, etc.; These roadways will be plowed to maintain traffic flow, realizing that the traffic will have to travel appropriately for the conditions; some lower traffic volume residential streets with steeper grades are included in this category.
Local or Residential Streets which are not Priority I or II streets are given sufficient service that will allow traffic to move safely at a restricted speed. Plowing will be done on local/residential roadways only after priority I & II streets are cleared. Adequate emergency access is the goal, so minimal plowing and ice melt applications will occur.
Storms vary, therefore, plowing strategies may vary also. Snowfall, wind, and such can vary from one side of the city to the other.
If you have any questions regarding the Snow and Ice Control Program, please call City of Rock Springs at 307-352-1500 or 307-352-1540, or visit