The city is divided into 11 or more snow removal zones, each with 15 to 20 miles of roadways. Most are bordered by major thoroughfares.
During winter weather events, each area is assigned a truck with a plow and salt spreader. Additional trucks may be assigned as appropriate. If weather conditions warrant, maintenance crews transition to 24-hour operations with a driver working a 12-hour day shift and a second driver working a 12-hour night shift. Once weather conditions permit, drivers revert to their normal work schedules.
The driver of each truck has a map that assigns a priority rating to each street in his area. The priorities range from 1-3 based on traffic volume.
High traffic streets are treated first to maintain access for emergency vehicles and traffic flow. Streets with lower traffic flow and smaller connector streets are treated next. Finally low-traveled subdivision streets, dead-ends and cul-de-sacs are treated.
Although drivers are given these priorities, they are able to adjust them due to practical experience, weather or unforeseen conditions. Heavy snow or ice may cause them to change their direction.
During heavy snow events, extra time is required to clear intersections of snow ridges that result when plow drivers cross the intersection on either intersecting street.
Dead ends and cul-de-sacs are especially difficult areas for the larger trucks used on most through streets. As a result, 4-wheel-drive pickup trucks equipped with plows are used on those streets.