Snow Policy

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The following policies and procedures serve as a practical guide for the efficient and cost-effective removal of snow and ice in the City of Sioux City. The responsibility for providing snow and ice control on Sioux City’s 500 miles of streets and alleys rests with the Field Services Division of the Public Works Department.

Reasonable ice and snow control is necessary for routine travel and emergency services. The City will provide such control in a safe and cost effective manner, keeping in mind safety, budget, personnel, and equipment. Under City Code Section 10.84.020, the Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem, the City Manager or his/her designee may declare a “Snow

Snow and ice control is typically considered emergency work. The snow and ice control program may be initiated by: 1) the City Manager, 2) the Public Works Director, 3) the Field Services Street Superintendent or his/her designee. City streets must be cleared at any time of the day or night. The work must be accomplished as expeditiously as possible; and, consequently, all planning and equipment preparation should be completed prior to the arrival of the snow season. Preparing a snow and ice control program can be, and frequently is, made extremely difficult due to a combination
of factors. Rate and accumulation of snowfall, moisture content, temperature, time of day or night, wind velocity, and duration are all factors that interact to create a unique aspect for each storm. No two storms are ever identical.

The key element in implementing an efficient snow and ice control program is
weather forecasting. Weather forecasting is the trigger mechanism for any storm.
The Field Services Division closely monitors short and long range weather
forecasts. These forecasts have greatly assisted in increasing the effectiveness of the
snow and ice control program. Actual field conditions in the immediate area will assist
in determining when to mobilize, what equipment to operate, and what materials to

This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) contains statements of procedures
and directives basic to the organization and operation for the chemical and abrasive
program, snow and ice control program and snow plowing program.

The City Manager, the Public Works Director and Field Services Street Superintendent
or his/her designees are the only individuals authorized to institute a snow and ice
control program. Once the snow and ice control program had been initiated, field
operations shall be directed by the Field Services Street Superintendent who may
delegate authority to begin snow and ice control operations.

During the snow season, five Labor Supervisors will rotate evening and weekend
standby duty for the snow and ice control operation unless weather conditions require a
full crew call-up.

Labor Supervisors shall be responsible for providing snow and ice control maps and/or
written route descriptions to equipment operators. Equipment operators are expected to
keep this information available in the vehicle and to request additional copies of this
information if it has been lost or damaged.

During snow and ice control operations, a majority of the other Field Services Division’s
operations become secondary once the program is initiated. Personnel are assigned to
12-hour shifts (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.). The 12 hour shifts
are continued until the majority of residential streets have been cleared of snow.
Personnel return to normal 8 hour shifts at this time. The Public Works Director or Field
Service Street Superintendent may employ private operators and equipment should
conditions warrant. The Central Maintenance Garage will also provide personnel on 12
hour shifts in order to repair equipment as soon as possible.

The Field Services Street Superintendent or his/her designee shall determine shift

The City has been divided into six major snow and ice control areas, with a Labor
Supervisor assigned to each. The major areas have been subdivided into sixteen
spreader routes.

City streets and alleys are categorized into three priorities.
Priority One (1) - Streets in the Priority One category include hospital and emergency
routes, arterial streets, transit bus system routes that are major traffic carriers, and
major business districts. Priority One streets will be cleared before moving to Priority
Two streets.

Priority Two (2) - Streets in the Priority Two category are the remaining transit bus
system routes, through and collector streets, and other business districts.

Priority Three (3) - Residential streets, cul-de-sacs, dead ends, and alleys. The cul-desacs
and dead ends are cleared of snow after residential streets have been completed.
Cul-de-sacs require a loader for the most effective snow removal. Paved alleys will be
cleared after all streets have been completed. Dirt alleys are cleared on a request
basis. The only exception to this clearing operation is when an emergency situation
arises. The clearing of on-street parking and the removal of center lane windrows,
which requires the hauling of snow, within the Central and Morningside Business
Districts, will begin when a majority of streets are opened to traffic. This work may be
completed during the overnight hours to avoid traffic conflicts.

The City will maintain certain sidewalks and trails in the City. The list of those sidewalks
is kept current by the Park Maintenance Supervisor and is available in his/her office.
The City will only maintain these sidewalks after the streets have been plowed due to a
limited number of personnel and equipment available.

The following general guidelines have been established for snow and ice control
operations in Sioux City:
1. Snowfall accumulations of up to two inches, more or less, are generally handled
(depending on weather conditions) by plowing drive lanes, salting, sanding, and/or a
combination of salt/sand.
2. Complete (curb-to-curb) snowplowing operations generally do not begin unless
snowfall accumulations measure in excess of two inches; snow is falling; and/or
weather forecasts call for additional accumulation. Salting and snowplowing operations
may be conducted concurrently.
3. The Public Works Director or Field Services Street Superintendent may employ
private operators and equipment for snow hauling/plowing if conditions warrant it. The
private operator and equipment will be hired in accordance with purchasing procedures.
The Field Services Division has made prior arrangements and generally the first
assignment for the private equipment will be in the Central Business District. As
additional private equipment is obtained beyond that needed for the Central Business
District, assignments will be made to assist City crews in other areas of the community
on the basis of a particular area’s need.
4. During complete (curb-to-curb) snowplowing, snowplow operators are instructed
to plow the street as close as possible to the curb line with a minimum number of
5. Snow plows shall drive around parked cars that block straight line snow removal.
6. Snow from the street pushed in front of a private driveway will not be removed by
the City.
7. Snow plow operators are instructed to windrow the snow to the center of the
street in the Downtown Central Business District, the Morningside Avenue Business
District, and the W. 7th Street Business Corridor. City crews and/or private equipment
haulers will haul snow out of the Downtown area after the majority of residential streets
have been cleared of snow. Snow will be stored in the parkway outside of the Business
Districts. If the sidewalk is close to the curb, part of the street may be utilized to store
the snow. In either case, snow will not be removed from the area adjacent to the curb
line or the parkway if used for storage.
8. Snow plow operators are instructed to plow paved alleys by making one pass,
pushing snow to both sides. Snow will not be removed from areas adjacent to the alley
rights-of-way. Dirt alleys are cleared of snow on a “request basis”.
9. City-wide snow emergency parking restrictions will be implemented when snow
conditions warrant. The Mayor, or in the absence of the Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem the
City Manager, will place the restrictions into effect through the use of the media. Field
Services, Police, Sioux City Fire Rescue, and the Public Works Department personnel
will consult with the City Manager as to the need of implementing the Snow Emergency
Restricted Parking Policy.
10. Snow plows may be removed from service or reallocated during periods of high
winds and drifting or heavy falling snow.
These practices are of a general nature only and will depend upon factors such
as wind, temperature, moisture content, etc. The City reserves the flexibility to change
procedures depending upon the type of snow, wind, and times of the day the snow falls.

In order to facilitate safe and effective snow and ice control, some City streets
are designated Snow Routes by Chapter 10.84 of the City Code and all parking will be
banned on these streets whenever a 2 inch snow fall or greater occurs and snow and
ice control operations are in progress. These routes are identified by signs bearing the
insignia of a white snowflake on a blue field.

Enforcement of this ordinance in Chapter 10.84 requires close cooperation
between the Field Services Division and the Police Department.

In the event of a prediction of or the occurrence of a substantial snowfall event (greater
than 6 inches) or concurrent snowfall events (two 4 inches or greater storms) that would
not allow City Crews to clear the right-of-way through their normal operations, staff will
recommend that the Mayor or his/her designee declare a Snow Emergency. This
declaration will enact the phased restriction of parking beyond the designated
emergency snow routes as outlined in the City Code. If implemented, the restrictions
will be according to designated neighborhoods and restrict parking on an odd/even
basis (parking is allowed on the odd numbered address side of the street on the odd
numbered days and on the even numbered address side of the street on even days).

Numerous citizen concerns for snow and ice control are typical during a significant
event. The Public Works Director may establish a call center to field calls and
information coming in on the event. Additionally, that call center will be responsible for
updating the public on the progress of the snow emergency through press releases,
updating and maintaining the website including posting a current listing of Frequently
Asked Questions (FAQ), communication to the media, conversion of press releases to
different language formats, and electronic updates. All City staff will support the call

Upon instituting a Snow Emergency Declaration, the Sioux City Police Department will
begin enforcement of the “Odd-Even Parking” restrictions at 7:00 a.m. the following day.
Enforcement will be at the discretion of either the code enforcement or law enforcement
officials regarding the issuance of a warning, issuance of a citation or the removal of the
vehicle. Factors may include availability of the owner, ability to move the vehicle,
condition of the vehicle, current weather conditions and the availability of towing

If the Snow Emergency Declaration is expected to last more than 3 days, key
City staff and support agencies (i.e. waste hauling, Postal Service, etc.) will meet to
review the status of the clearing operations and provide feedback.

Prior to the snow season each fall, the City will educate citizens and employees about
snow emergencies and the impacts through a variety of communications tools.
Emergency Snow Route maps will be made available on the City’s website, in various
media publications, and at a variety of community locations.
When a Snow Emergency is declared, the City will notify citizens and employees of
conditions through:
- News releases as needed
- The main pages of the City’s and the Field Services Division’s web pages
- Local/Cable TV
- Local Radio
- Available electronic signage
- Local newspaper
- Social Media Platforms
- Other communications tools
The Snow Priority Route maps will be posted on the City’s Website.
During a declared Snow Emergency, the Chief of Police is authorized to publicly
announce non-emergency travel is not recommended or suspended when, in his/her
opinion, snow or ice conditions warrant such warning restriction.

Snow and ice control operations are conducted on a 24-hour basis, 7 days a
week. Therefore, the Field Services Division is prepared to shift from the normal work
week anytime it becomes necessary to institute snow and ice control operations.

Should conditions warrant holding City crews for snow and ice control during the normal
working day, those individuals assigned to the day shift are held over for an additional 4
hour period with the night shift personnel reporting in 4 hours earlier in order to
comprise two 12 hour shifts. In order to maximize the use of City equipment,
employees from other activities with the Field Services Division will be assigned to
assist with snow and ice control operations. In order to maximize the use of City
equipment, employees from other activities within the Field Services Division will be
assigned to assist with snow and ice control for the duration of the emergency.

In the event it becomes necessary to begin snow and ice control operations
outside of the normal working day, a current telephone call list is used to notify affected
personnel. A snow and ice control program may be initiated by: 1) the City Manager, 2)
the Public Works Director, 3) the Field Services Street Superintendent or his/her
designee. Once the Snow and Ice Control Program is started, any individual who
initiates the program will make sure the Public Works Director and the City Manager are
notified as to the starting time and the possible extent of the operation.

If the decision to work 12 hour shifts is made, all key Field Services personnel
are notified and each, in turn notifies personnel under his/her supervision. Prior to
personnel reporting for duty, salt spreaders and snowplows are mounted. As personnel
arrive, they are assigned routes and dispatched.

The snow and ice control fleet consists of sixteen truck plows, six motor graders,
seven front-end loaders, seventeen material spreader/plow trucks, and three snow
blowers. Depending on storm conditions, additional equipment may be obtained from
private firms to support the snow removal effort. The size of the fleet is adequate to
handle the majority of snow and ice storms reasonably expected in an average snow

It is the intent of the Field Services Division to utilize as much of the snow and ice
control equipment on the street as possible. It is impractical to assume all equipment
will be operating, and provisions must be made for equipment down-time.
Exclusive of minor vehicle repair, the goal is to keep at least eighty percent of all
Field Services Division equipment operational.

Generally, three combinations of material will be used for snow and ice control
operations. These are straight salt, straight sand, or a combination of salt/sand. Rates
of material spreading and combination of the various materials will depend on the
prevailing weather conditions, and the Field Services Division Superintendent or his/her
designee shall determine the application rate and materials to be used.

1. Complete (curb-to-curb) snowplowing operations generally begin when
accumulations have reached two inches more or less on the majority of the Priority One
streets and snow is falling and/or forecasts predict significant additional snowfall. For
the purposes of plowing, the City has been divided into six Areas. A Labor Supervisor
within the Field Services Division will be assigned to each Area. At least one Labor
Supervisor will be assigned to the night shift. Every street and alley in every district has
been assigned a plowing priority. These designations will either be Priority One, Priority
Two, or Priority Three. In any given area Priority One streets will be plowed before
Priority Two streets are started. Priority Three streets will be plowed with alleys being
plowed last. If, in a particular district, all the Priority One streets have been plowed and
the Priority Two streets are commenced and it begins to snow again sufficiently to
require replowing, then the Priority One streets would be reinitiated before resuming
work on Priority Two streets.
2. Labor Supervisors and equipment operators are expected to be knowledgeable
of areas where sidewalks are close to the curb and where medians exist and shall make
every effort to avoid plowing snow onto sidewalks. Labor Supervisors will inform
equipment operators unfamiliar with a particular district of areas where sidewalks are
closest to the curb.
3. Equipment operators are expected to inspect equipment prior to leaving the Field
Services Field Headquarters yard area to ensure equipment is in proper working
condition. Brakes, lights, horns, turn signals, plow and/or material hydraulics, steering,
cutting blade, edges, chains, fluid levels and tires must be checked. Operators must
check fuel tanks before taking the vehicle into the field. Any malfunction of the
equipment must be reported to the operator’s immediate supervisor.
4. Operators are required to submit snow cards at the end of each shift. Items to be
completed on these cards include date, supervisor, time, temperature, route (in “area
box”), wind velocity, tons of material spread (sand, salt), spreading time, breakdowns (if
any), percentage of route completed, and mileage for beginning and end of the shift.
On the reverse side of the snow data card, the driver will note any deviations made from
the salt/plow route due to additional calls. The operator will list the requests of streets
not on the assigned route that have been salted/plowed, the time the operator received
the request, and the time the request was completed.
5. Snow hauling operations in the Business Districts will generally be done at night
so as to avoid heavy traffic; however, day time snow removal may be necessary due to
forecast of additional snow. Private equipment may assist in this operation. Snow may
be hauled away from the Business Districts after the majority of all streets are passable.
6. Operators who are involved in any crash are required to report the accident
immediately. The Labor Supervisor will assess the damage and have the Legal
Department and/or Police notified if warranted. Operators must also complete and
submit a crash report at their earliest convenience. Operators, who are involved in a
crash, may be subject to drug and alcohol testing in accordance to rules and regulations
associated with their Commercial Driver’s License.
7. Equipment operators are instructed to obey all traffic regulations during snow and
ice control operations.
8. Personnel from the Field Services Division or other available personnel will be
assigned to the “chain” crew by the Field Services Street Superintendent or his/her
designee as deemed necessary.
9. At the inception of freezing rain, ice, or snow, Labor Supervisors are expected to
check bridge decks in their respective areas to determine the need for material and/or
plowing. Labor Supervisors are expected to be familiar with locations of bridges within
their respective areas. At the inception of freezing rain, ice or snow, the 3
rd Shift Labor
Supervisor, or their designee, shall routinely check bridge decks to determine the need
for salting and/or plowing.
10. City streets will be restored to a passable condition within 72 hours after a 4 inch
snowfall has ceased. This policy is of a general nature and will depend to a great
degree on storm factors; i.e., wind, temperature, moisture content, reoccurring snowfall,
etc. Equipment breakdowns will also be a factor.

Provisions must be made for situations involving emergencies. In the event Field
Services receives notification of an emergency situation, equipment necessary to
handle the emergency will be dispatched immediately to assist until the emergency has
been resolved. In order to eliminate false emergency calls to the Field Services
Division, it is preferable emergency calls be routed through the Police/Fire
Communications Center. Emergency calls will not always come through the Police/Fire
Communications Center. Those individuals in the Field Services Division receiving
emergency calls will inform the caller the Police/Fire will be notified of the emergency
situation so as to be able to assist in handling the situation and to preclude false calls.

In order to assist in responding to emergencies all four-wheel drive vehicles in
the City’s fleet not needed for other emergency situations may be assigned to the Field
Services Field Headquarters. These vehicles will be reassigned by the Field Services
Division as needed.

Requests for service will be logged and forwarded to the Labor Supervisor in
charge of the area. Concerns, routine or emergency, may be handled by the Labor
Supervisor in that area or the Field Services Street Superintendent. Property damage
calls will be referred to the Legal Department, and the Labor Supervisor from that area
will investigate the complaint and file a report.

Chapter 10.84 - Parking Restrictions During Snow Emergency
Chapter 17.24 - Snow and Ice Removal

The Field Services Street Superintendent shall maintain a City map showing the
Priority One streets. Criteria for determining Priority One streets includes such items 
as primary routes to emergency facilities, major arterial streets, major business districts,
and major transit system bus routes. This map will be reviewed annually by Field
Services, Public Works, Police, Fire Rescue and Transit and be posted at the City’s web

The City recognizes conditions may be so unusual or unexpected that a
departure from these general policies should be authorized. The City Manager or the
Public Works Director, in consultation with the Field Services Street Superintendent,
Fire Chief, or Chief of Police may order a departure from these general rules when, in
his/her opinion, conditions warrant such action.

To the extent any previous rule, regulation, policy, or past practice, written or
unwritten, is in conflict with the provisions of this policy, such is hereby withdrawn,
voided and all personnel should conduct themselves in conformity with this policy.