Snow Plowing Questions & Answers
The Public Works Department receives a variety of information requests from residents throughout the year, especially during winter when snow falls. Below are our most frequently asked questions with answers.
How many miles of roads is Public Works responsible for plowing?
The Village is responsible for 167 center lane miles of snow and ice control.
How are those miles divided up to plow?
The 167 miles are divided into 11 sections with two trucks typically assigned to each section or route in a plowing event. Public Works is also responsible for plowing the commuter, five Fire Stations, Police Headquarters, and Village Hall parking lots.
Why are two trucks assigned to a route?
Plowing in tandem allows us to clear street pavement from center line to curb in one pass.
Why don’t the plows clear the whole street at once?
Drivers make a preliminary pass during a storm to open up the streets. Final curb-to-curb clearing occurs after it stops snowing.
How long does it take to plow a route?
Depending on the type and amount of snowfall, it can take approximately 7 hours to clear 15 miles of streets. A typical route is 15 miles.
Are the same drivers assigned to the same route each time they plow or salt?
Yes. There are two drivers assigned to each route for a plowing operation and one driver for a salting operation.
For some storms, plows are out for most of the day and night. Is the same driver out there that whole time?
No. The department has two fully staffed crews—front line snow plow drivers and back-up drivers, which include part-time seasonal drivers hired each year.
Where do drivers start plowing?
Major streets are plowed first, such as Northwest Highway, Palatine Road, and Hicks Road, followed by secondary and residential streets, including cul-de-sacs.
Are there roads Palatine does not plow?
Yes, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is responsible for Rand, Dundee, and Algonquin Roads, Route 53, and Hicks Road north of Dundee Road. Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways (CCDOTH) is responsible for Quentin and Roselle Roads, and Euclid Avenue. For snow plowing concerns on those streets, call IDOT at 847-705-4000 or CCDOTH at 847-397-4145.
Can I park on the street during a storm?
No. On-street parking is not allowed after a snowfall of two or more inches, until the street has been plowed. Illegally parked cars that hinder plowing operations may be ticketed and towed by the Police Department.
Some sidewalks are cleared but not all – why is that?
The Village Council designated certain sidewalks to be cleared when there is over 3 inches of snowfall. These sidewalks are the main routes to schools or on higher volume roads to help keep school children and other pedestrians safe from walking in the streets.
Are residents required to shovel the public sidewalk adjacent to their property?
No. However, the Village encourages all residents to clear their sidewalks for the safety of pedestrians and children walking to school.
If I shovel the public sidewalk adjacent to my property, where can I put the snow?
Place the snow on the parkway or in your front yard, in a manner to avoid injury or limited access to any person, animal, or property.
Can a resident put snow on a public sidewalk or street?
No. This includes the portion of the sidewalk that crosses over a driveway apron. Village ordinances prohibit plowing, blowing, or shoveling of snow into the street, on the public sidewalk, or on a parkway across from your property. These actions can create hazardous conditions for both motorists and pedestrians.
If I hire a snow plow contractor, who is responsible for notifying that contractor of the Village ordinances?
Property owners are responsible for the actions of their contractors. Non-owners of property should forward this information to the party responsible for conducting the snow plowing and snow removal operations.
Can children build snow forts in the parkway?
No. Playing in or near the street, especially while snow and ice control operations are in process, poses a safety hazard for children. Snow forts and other snow sculptures can also obstruct drivers' vision when backing out of driveways.
The snow plow hit my mailbox. How do I receive mail now?
It is very difficult, especially on cul-de-sacs, to completely clear snow without risking damage to mailboxes or posts. If your curbside mailbox is damaged by a Village snow plow, call the Public Works Department and the Village will either repair the box and/or post or bring out a temporary mailbox so you can continue to receive mail delivery. Keep in mind, the Village is not responsible for mailboxes damaged during snow plowing if the boxes do not meet Village code or if they are damaged by non-Village vehicles.
The snow plow tore up the grass in the parkway. How do I request restoration?
Report the damage to Public Works as soon as it is noticed. Turf will be restored in the spring, and usually occurs in early April. Public Works crews will level out any areas with plow damage and then apply grass seed. We ask that you water the area until the grass has established.
Why does the snow plow driver always seem to fill my driveway with snow after I have cleared away the snow?
It’s not done intentionally. The goal is to have safe roads for residents and other motorists traveling within the Village. When possible, save time and prevent frustration by waiting to clear the bottom of your driveway until after the plows have completed their final pass.
For more information or any other questions, please feel free to call Public Works at (847) 705-5200 or email us at PublicWorks@palatine.il.us.