Why is it some streets cleared and others are left snow covered? You hear many times main arterial routes, secondary routes and residential routes. The streets are prioritized by use, main streets being the number one priority with the secondary routes consisting of hills and collector streets and then residential streets are the last priority. Springfield DPW usually does not call for plowing until 3 inches of snow have fallen. Anything less than 3 inches is treated with salt on the arterial and secondary routes only. This operation will cost between 20k and 30k depending upon the variables such as time of day, day of the week and storm duration. This type of operation utilizes DPW staff and equipment only.
When it is expected that 3 or more inches of snowfall will fall a full plow operation is activated. The Department utilizes the City's automated CTY phone system that calls employees and hired equipment contractors and the operation is underway. Springfield utilizes 140 to 180 private contractors for this operation. These trucks are assigned specific routes and the plow inspectors make checks in each area of the City. This operation takes a minimum of twelve hours and will last at least 8 hours after the snow stops falling and costs no less than 150k. The main focus of this phase is to open the streets and clear as much of the street as possible before the next phase of detailed cleanup.
Even after plowing the entire City some streets are still snow covered. This is due to the amount of traffic the street has seen since the beginning of the storm. Traffic packs the snow, which makes removal difficult. Some storms start with snow and change to freezing rain, which also makes plowing difficult and ineffective. Other factors that affect the quality of the plowing operation are the number of cars parked in the street and whether or not the parking ban was observed. The city will ticket and tow illegally parked cars.