The Public Services Department is responsible for clearing snow and ice from over 774 miles of streets in the city.
With the exception of emergency requests from police dispatchers, individual requests for snow removal cannot be taken.
For a view of West Des Moines staff and equipment battling winter weather, enjoy this video:
Priorities for snow and ice control operations
In order to make the most efficient use of available resources, the City has established priorities using the assumption that the severity of a storm is not beyond the normal capabilities of the City's snow removal resources. Depending on the nature of the snowstorm, deviations could occur. The established priorities are as follows:
|Arterials - The minimum network which must be kept open to provide a transportation system for police, fire and rescue squad units.||1st Priority|
|All Improved Streets / City Facility Parking Lots
|All Unimproved Roads/Alleys/Sidewalks
Additional snow removal policy:
- The City does not plow sidewalks or driveways unless part of city-owned property.
- Driveways may be blocked during snow removal operations; we attempt to minimize this as much as possible. However, property owners are responsible for clearing their driveways.
- During snow emergency parking bans and cleanup efforts, vehicles on roadways may be towed if they impede normal snow removal operations. To determine if there is a snow emergency parking ban in place, call the Snow Hotline at 273-0766 24/7 or check the WDM website home page.
- City equipment will not be used to conduct privately-owned vehicle recovery operations unless it is a life or death emergency.
- The City does not have designated emergency snow routes. All city streets have restricted parking during a snow emergency parking ban.
Snow control procedures
The depth and time of snow accumulation along with volume of traffic will normally dictate when snow plowing operations will begin. Plowing will take place during a storm as needed in an attempt to keep the accumulation on the pavement surface lower than the desired guidelines.
Snow plowing operations will be carried out in accordance with the guidelines established for the various street classifications as set forth in the Snow Manual. Such plowing operations may be done in conjunction with ice control activities.
Normally on major snow routes plow trucks will operate in teams. Team plowing may consist of two or more plows operating together to provide for the swift removal of snow from the street between the centerline and the curb line in one pass. This eliminates the need to return later to plow the streets to the curb line. However, on local residential streets when only one snow plow unit is used, it may be necessary to make two or more passes in each direction to completely clear the street of accumulated snow.
Sidewalks - Private Responsibility
All sidewalks adjacent to private property are the responsibility of the property owner. The City's responsibility is to plow the streets and keep them open to traffic. Due to the location of some sidewalks and the volume of snow being moved, there will be occasions where the plowing operation may deposit additional snow onto the sidewalks. It is still the responsibility of the property owner to remove all snow from their sidewalk. Property owners are given 24 hours after the end of a storm to do this. All complaint calls about private sidewalks not being shoveled received after the 24-hour period should be made to the Police Department Code Enforcement at 222-3304.
Driveways - Private Responsibility
City snow plows will not clear private driveways except under emergency conditions and with the approval of the Supervisor on duty. Any snow placed in driveways by City plows is the responsibility of the property owner to remove. Snow from a private driveway may not be placed on or pushed across a City street in accordance with Section 7-1-4C "Dumping of Snow" of the City Code dated 1993 as amended.
The City will plow the snow within the confines of the curb line to curb line of a street. During frequent periods of heavy snowfall accumulations, there may be times when City plows cannot physically place the snow from the curbline of the street onto City right-of-way. The adjacent resident will be responsible for cleaning snow around their mailbox to assure delivery of mail. The resident is also responsible for assuring that their mailbox is properly installed behind the curbline and able to withstand snow cleaning efforts by the City. During preliminary routine inspections, City staff will notify citizens when potential problems are observed with the location of their mailboxes. It will be the responsibility of the residents to properly relocate the mailbox prior to winter plowing operations. The City will not be responsible for damage to mailboxes which have not been relocated after the notification has occurred.
The city contains approximately 774 total lane miles
There are 35 different routes:
- major (arterial) routes
- 11 area (residential and commercial) routes
- 5 cul-de-sac routes
- 1 unimproved (gravel) street route
- Average route has approximately 53 lane miles
- Over 50 City employees involved in snow removal
- Contractors assist in clearing over 209 cul-de-sacs
- Rock salt
- Salt brine, calcium chloride for pre-wetting
- Corrosion Inhibited Chloride
- Geo Melt
- 4 Pickup plows
- 13 Single axle trucks
- 5 Tandem (two-axle) trucks
- 1 Motor grader
- 3 Snow blowers
- 2 One tons
Training and preparation:
- 100% annual equipment inspection
- Winter maintenance training in September
- Inspection of all streets prior to Winter
2. Call the Public Services Department 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (515) 222-3480.