Streets > Snow Removal
The City Street Department is responsible for the removal of snow from city streets. High volume streets are plowed differently than local streets.
Wisconsin Rapids property owners must clear snow and ice from their sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowfall. The city provides sand barrels at various locations around the city. Residents may use the sand on their sidewalks if the ice cannot be removed. If the snow is not cleared and ice is not cleared or sanded, the city will clear the walk when time allows and will charge the property owner a substantial amount for use of city labor and equipment. Owners of corner lots are requested to keep sidewalks open to streets. Snow that is removed may not be pushed, thrown, or blown onto city streets.
The city also asks that property owners remove snow from fire hydrants adjacent to their properties as a fire safety measure and that residents be good neighbors and assist the elderly and handicapped with removal of snow from their sidewalks.
To report any snow related conditions, please call 715 421-8218 Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If the situation demands immediate attention outside normal business hours, please notify the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department.
Snow and ice control policy:
Snow and ice control policy scope
DE-ICING AND SNOW REMOVAL
This policy is written for the purpose of insuring a uniform de-icing and snow removal procedure is in effect for the City of Wisconsin Rapids and to accomplish the work necessary with the personnel available with the equipment presently in the fleet of the Street Division. This policy may be amended from time to time based on circumstances and conditions but nothing herein is meant to be a guarantee that certain streets will be plowed or de-iced by a certain time of the day as this is contingent upon when the slippery conditions or snow prevails in the area. As new developments occur and new equipment becomes available which will speed up the snow removal operation, appropriate recommendations will be made in an effort to implement same. Suggestions and comments on methods of improving this policy are welcomed.
It is the intent of the City of Wisconsin Rapids to provide the highest degree of service to the residents of the City but to accomplish this within the budget and frame work established by the governing body.
Weather Service and storm notification
The City of Wisconsin Rapids utilizes various weather information sources such as internet, television and radio weather reports to assist with snow removal plans. Street Dept. personnel may also confer with Wood County Highway Dept. for additional weather information to aid the planning process. Although this information is beneficial it may not be 100% accurate and therefore, supervisory judgment and assessment is necessary.
In addition, the City of Wisconsin Rapids Police Department is charged with the responsibility of alerting supervisory personnel in the Street Division when and if driving conditions are hazardous or an unsafe condition exists. A call-in list for supervisors to contact is provided to Wood County dispatch and the W.R. Police Department.
snow accumulation depth
It shall be the policy of the City of Wisconsin Rapids to remove snow from the streets when andif the accumulation reaches four (4) inches or more. Lessor amounts may be removed upon decision of supervisory personnel when in their opinion the failure to remove could result in additional cost to the City in applying abrasives or chemicals.
snow removal plan
It shall be the policy of the City to remove snowfalls exceeding four (4) inches from City streetswithin a twenty-four hour period after the snowfall has ended. This 24 hr. period is required because sufficient personnel are not available to work around the clock and present policy does not allow employees to work more than twelve (12) hours without time off for rest.
The Street Division has a total of seventeen (17) units available for snow removal from streets and City owned parking lots. In addition, there are three sidewalk plows and three alley plows. The City is divided into areas or zones with one unit being assigned each area. Whenever and wherever possible, the same driver or operator will be assigned the same area or zone for each snow removal operation. This will allow the driver or operator to become familiar with the area; they will know problem areas; they will know traffic patterns; danger areas and will be able to accomplish the snow removal operation in the least possible time.
In the event of break down, accident, etc. involving a snow removal unit, the area or zone to which the unit was assigned may not be plowed within the twenty-four (24) hour period and must wait until other areas are cleared of snow and another unit is available for work.
It shall be the policy of the City to draw personnel from the Sign Shop and Park Division to assist the Street Division in clearing snow. The use of these employees will be on an “as needed” basis and dependent on the availability of equipment.
streets closed during winter months
It shall be the policy of the City, in an effort to reduce the cost of snow removal, to refrain from clearing snow from certain streets which are not used generally during the winter months. These streets would be those on which no structures or residences were located and would not be plowed unless a request was received from the property owner and there is a need for access. These streets will be posted with appropriate signs.
The City of Wisconsin Rapids has a total of approximately 150 miles of local roads and 13 miles of State Highways. It has three (3) sanders available with operators to de-ice the entire City and one (1) sander available as a spare. It is evident that the entire City can not be de-iced immediately; therefore, priorities have been established to insure the safe flow of traffic in high volume traffic areas.
The following priority is hereby established:
Priority One – Highways and downtown area
Priority Two – Hills
Priority Three – Arterial streets – Truck routes
Priority Four – Secondary streets
Along this same line, not all streets will be de-iced by use of chemicals and it is not the policy of the City to have bare pavement on all City streets. Those streets and areas falling in priority one and two will be de-iced using chemicals and in most cases will be bare pavement. Those streets falling in priority three will have intersection and mid-block chemical application and those streets in priority four will be de-iced using abrasives.
The City has three units for the plowing of alleys. Alleys will be plowed during and somewhat after streets have been plowed. These alleys are broken down into East Side – West Side. Alleys with grass or gravel surfaces may not be plowed until after the ground has frozen.
sidewalk plowing by the city
The City also has sidewalk plows with which to remove snow from City owned sidewalks. Because of the volume of sidewalks and the need for personnel in other areas of the snow removal operation, it is not possible to have a bare pavement policy with respect to sidewalks. Every effort within the capability of the Street Division will be made to make the sidewalks safe for pedestrian traffic, however, care, good judgment and caution should be exercised by the general public.
snow loading operation
Upon completion of the snow removal operations, the Street Division will enter the snow loading operation where snow is loaded off streets in key areas. Normally this operation is not started until two work days after a snowstorm and is only done if the accumulation is sufficient to impede pedestrian traffic. Where traffic volumes permit, snow will be removed during the normal daytime shift to reduce overtime. In some areas, a combination of overtime hours and straight time will be used. Highways may be cleared during night hours for worker safety reasons. No guarantee is made that the snow will be loaded out within a specific period of time. Snow dumping sites in several locations will be used to allow capture of pollutants entering the storm sewers and waterways. These sites will be cleaned in the spring after the snow melts.
hand shoveling locations
Simultaneously with the snow loading operation is the hand shoveling of traffic islands and certain sidewalks. This is generally accomplished within a three (3) day period at the end of the snow storm.
snow loading - main highways
It is the policy of the City not to remove snow from the main highways in the City (Hwy 54-13-73-34) until such time as the accumulation is such that the traffic lane width is reduced so as to make it unsafe for the even flow of the traffic or in the event snow deposits are such that the removal of snow from the street from a plowing operation would result in snow being pushed on sidewalks. Nothing herein guarantees the removal of this snow within a specified period of time.
cross walk shoveling
Shoveling of snow from cross walks within the City has in the past been the responsibility of the Street Division. The number of these crosswalks exceeds 3,000. As personnel are available, snow will be removed from these crosswalks with the priority being:
1 – Main highways
2 – School areas
3 – Arterial streets
4 – All other areas
There is no guarantee that snow will be removed from these crosswalks in a specified time; therefore, the general public should use care, good judgement and caution when using crosswalks
In the event heavy snowfalls occur throughout the winter months, accumulations of snow mayexist at intersections which make it difficult for the motoring public to obtain good visibility in all directions. Motorists should travel with caution and at reduced speed when such conditions prevail. The use of red flags attached to antennas, etc. is recommended as an aid.
sand box locations
The Street Division will at key locations throughout the City locate sandboxes filled with abrasives. These sandboxes are for the use of the general public in controlling slippery or icy conditions on sidewalks or intersections. Police Department Personnel are encouraged to make use of these sand boxes by spreading the abrasives on slippery intersections and thereby reducing the possibility of an accident until such time as the Street Division can properly salt or sand the intersection. Periodically, the sandboxes are refilled by the Street Division so that sand is readily available
special plowing arrangements
The standard approach used to plow streets and alleys in the City shall be to divide the snow at the centerline and plow to both sides of the street. In some locations, snow can be plowed to one side of the street where driveways and homes are not present, but is understood that these are exceptions, and cannot be done city-wide as that will increase plowing time and cost. The Public Works Superintendent will determine when the where exceptions can be made.