Road Warrior Watch

The commission has received several inquiries about dealing with snow on our residential streets.  Libby Wetherholt reached out to the Department of Public Services.  This is what we received.

I believe some of the confusion is that there are some roads in Clintonville that are Priority 2 and some that are Priority 3 roadways. Priority 3 roadways are plowed only. As I checked over in the Clintonville area this morning to take a look at a few features (the bumpouts on Glenmont, Canyon Drive guardrail and Fallis pothole condition) as it relates to winter so far it seems that the priority changes and the treatment approaches that accompany them have been a topic that hopefully with your help I can convey the rationale a bit better going forward. As these changes happened before I arrived to Columbus I may not have noticed initially the impact since it had not snowed very much my first season here. I would also mention that as we are getting this rain and swing in temperature the priority 3 roadways may begin to look a little sloppy over the weekend but it is going to wash away shortly.

Treatment types are basically as follows:

  • Priority 1 and 2: Plow, salt and/or liquid.
    • Based on condition these roadways could be treated using one or any combination of these methods.
  • Priority 3: Plow only
    • These roadways are plowed just above the pavement surface as to not expose ice that may lie underneath. This approach aids with traction, and reduces how much snow piles at drive aprons.

Many cities have gotten away from dropping plows directly on pavement since it damages the street and adds to the pothole problem. It is my understanding that the decision was made here in Columbus several years ago and I think many have the expectation that there is a quality of work issue when the results are by design. In snow & ice control the term is called “polishing the stone” which speaks to if you drop a plow directly on the hard packed snow you smooth it out, cause friction (heat) and then get refreeze. It was found many years ago to be more dangerous to plow to pavement than to even plow at all after multiple issues within residential roadways caused by that age old method. This is especially the case when you have temperature fluctuations like we have here in Central Ohio.

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