Below are several topics addressed by the City of Highland Park and the Public Works Department to help our community during the winter months. In addition to the information provided below, you may also review the City's Snow and Ice Control Manual.
For general questions or concerns regarding the snow and ice removal process for the City of Highland Park, review the topics below or contact the Street Section Foreman, Randy Abbott, at 847.926.1147.
When are specific streets plowed?
Under normal snowfall conditions (which is considered three-inches or less), all public streets are plowed within the first six hours. However, it is important to note the initial snow removal operations are staged simultaneously throughout the City. Multiple plowing passes along streets are typically required to move snow to the curb and response times can vary and could extend beyond 6 hours, depending on the magnitude, duration, and timing of the snow event. Regardless, snow removal operations will continue until all public streets are passable and all parking areas have been cleared.
How is the application of salt managed?
The initial salting effort concentrates on hills, intersections and inherently hazardous areas. Salt and salt-brine are applied to help break the bond of snow and ice from the street surface while expediting snow removal and also improving driving conditions.
Why do plows occasionally fill driveway approaches?
Plows need to make multiple passes to push snow to the curbs. Plows initially clear the center of each street so cars can travel in both directions. Upon completion of this task, they will return to push the snow to the curbs. This helps melting snow to enter the storm sewers or other drainage systems. The City has approximately 10,000 residential driveways and unfortunately it is not possible for plow trucks to turn the snow blade away at each driveway. While plow operators try to avoid this from happening, unfortunately as the snow is plowed, snow does get deposited in driveway apron area, within City right of way.
When are public sidewalks plowed?
City maintains an estimated 130 miles of sidewalk. City plows 32 miles of sidewalk, in close proximity to schools, train stations, public buildings, and business districts, for all snow events irrespective of snowfall amounts. Typically, the 32 miles of public sidewalks plowed by City are pre-wet using a brine solution prior to snowfall.
Upon accumulation of 4” or more of snow, City’s authorized contractor will plow the remaining 98 miles of public sidewalks. The sidewalk plowing typically starts 12 to 24 hours after the start of the snowfall and could take up to 24 to 48 hours or more to complete the entire plowing operation of public sidewalks, as the priority is to clear the streets first.
As a reminder, for snow totals less than 4”, public sidewalks are not plowed by City, it is the responsibility of the abutting property or business owners to clear public sidewalks. Additionally, depositing snow onto sidewalks makes it difficult for pedestrians to walk on the sidewalk. The deposited snow on the sidewalk also hinders City and private sidewalk plow contractors (where applicable) to clear the walks in a timely and an effective manner.
How should drivers navigate the road when encountering a snow plow?
The large heavy snow plow trucks (City or State) are difficult to maneuver in less than optimal driving conditions. Moreover, the sizable plow reduces a driver’s visibility in snowy conditions. Plow trucks also generate slush obscuring visibility, thereby it is important to stay clear of snow removal equipment at all times.
What assistance can residents provide?
Observe street parking restrictions and avoid parking on the street until after the road has been cleared after a significant snowfall event. If a contractor plows your driveway, ensure the snow is not pushed across the street onto a neighbor’s property. Additionally, the City prohibits removing snow or ice from any building, private property, driveway, driveway approach or public sidewalk and depositing it onto public streets. The deposited snow on public streets creates a traffic hazard for motorists, especially on streets that have been plowed once.
What if a snow plow damages my property or mailbox?
Snow plowing is performed under challenging weather and traffic conditions including reduced visibility. Occasionally, areas adjacent to a street can be damaged without the knowledge of the plow operator. Any hardscape or streetscape items within the right-of-way remains the homeowner’s responsibility. Lawns damaged inadvertently by a City plow truck, within City right of way, will be repaired the following spring, upon receiving notification by the homeowner.
If a mailbox was damaged by City plow equipment, please contact the Street Foreman at 847.926.1147 within 24 to 48 hours of damage. City will place a temporary mailbox and then either repair the damage or reimburse the resident up to $65 for the purchase and installation of a replacement mailbox.
Who should residents call?
During regular working hours, contact the Street Foreman, Randy Abbott at 847.926.1147. During off-hours or emergencies, please contact the Police non-emergency hotline at 847.432.7730 and for all emergencies, please call 911.
Salt impact on water quality
The City’s Snow & Ice Control Plan sets forth the procedures and practices to manage snow and ice control operations in the community. City applies a combination of salt (sodium chloride) and brine solution in order to help minimize salt use. One concern with any usage of salt is the impact on lake and river water quality. Salt pollution is measured as sodium and chloride concentrations. The impact to Lake Michigan, which serves as the City’s drinking water source, is minimal due to controlled application and dilution. The area east of Green Bay Road drains into Lake Michigan, and the snowmelt to the west drains into the Skokie River. The City’s Water Treatment Plant intake is far away from shore negating potential intake of salt laden runoff.
Residents and business owners' use of salt on driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots may also contribute to lake and river pollution through snowmelt and stormwater runoff. Residential and commercial salt use should follow best practice guidelines, limiting to what’s absolutely necessary for safety.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recommends sodium in drinking water not exceed 30 mg/L to 60 mg/L, 20 mg/L for persons on very low sodium diets. The USEPA drinking water standard for chloride is not to exceed 250 mg/L, to avoid salty taste. The City’s drinking water has sodium and chloride concentrations well below the recommendation and standard, measured at 11 mg/L and 20 mg/L respectively. Residents can find this information and more in the current Annual Water Quality Report located on City’s website, go to www.cityhpil.com/waterquality
If you need additional information, please contact Public Works Department, Water Production Division, at 847.433.4355 or via email at email@example.com