Frequently asked SNOW PLOWING questions
Why hasn’t my neighborhood been plowed yet? Every snow storm starts like this: Our Highway team will spread salt on the main highways and neighborhoods just as the snow begins to fall. This will make it more difficult for ice to bond to the road. Arterial State Roads and other Township owned Collector Streets are actively being plowed while it is snowing. All of these streets are feeder streets out of your neighborhood and to the main streets and arterial streets and visa versa. Germantown Pike is one of the largest interchanges in Pennsylvania. Commuters rely on our passable/plowed and salted main streets to get to their jobs and get there safely. More importantly, they need to be passable to allow emergency vehicles to safely respond to calls. Plymouth Township Public Works has approximately 26 vehicles equipped with plows and about 12 vehicles capable of spreading salt. Plymouth Township is contracted by PennDOT to plow the STATE roads in our Township. Some residents ask why isn’t my neighborhood plowed yet? The simple answer is we are keeping the mains open while it is still snowing. If we pulled off the State roads to plow neighborhoods while it was actively snowing the Main roads would become snow covered and dangerous usually causing gridlock. Plymouth Township, on paper, plows 44 lane miles for PennDOT and plows an additional 96 lane miles of Township owned roads. This number is deceiving. To clear the snow on an average street width of 30 feet by 1 mile long (considered 2 lane miles, up and back) from curb to curb in reality takes about 6 passes of our snow plow to clear. A lane mile is defined by a standard travel lane in one direction 1 mile long. However, it takes more than one pass to clear a 12 ft. lane. It also takes much time to push the corners back so cars can safely turn onto roads. Remember, plows need to be angled to the right in order to move snow. This means that driveway aprons will get covered by the final pass. Overall, the Township plows 140 lane miles of snow that needs to be cleared. This number could easily be multiplied by 2 which is close to 280 lane miles to clear. Plowing snow in your neighborhood is like this…..Imagine driving down the seashore during a holiday weekend after working a full day. You plow the street moving about 15-20 mph. Every 3 or 4 miles you stop and put it in reverse and go backwards 20 ft. You continue plowing this same way, all the while fighting traffic and parked cars. Reaching your destination, you turn around and return home repeating the same. Meanwhile, this trip has taken over 12 hours so far. You finally think you are done and, you guessed it! It starts snowing again. Repeat! The average snow storm of 4-6 inches usually lasts on average of 10-12-hours. During the active snowfall we are out salting our roads and then plowing the mains. When it stops snowing we plow another 10-12 hours in your neighborhoods. The deeper the snow the longer it takes. During many heavy long duration storms it is not uncommon to spend 40 plus straight hours plowing snow.
Thank you for your understanding. Many of us, after working all of these long hours, go home and have to dig out their driveway apron too. Just part of the process. Our men always appreciate your smile and wave versus the alternative when they get to your street to plow.
Director of Public Works