What you should know before it snows

When weather turns cold and snow begins to fall, you can depend on the Ingham County Road Department to keep your roads and streets clear.  By monitoring U.S. Weather Bureau forecasts and private weather-reporting services, the road department develops an effective snow and ice removal plan for nearly 1,249 miles of county roads and streets, with your safety as our first concern.

How can the Road Department help me this winter?
The Ingham County Road Department works hard to provide acceptable driving conditions in a reasonable amount of time following winter storms.  It is our job to clear Ingham County roads outside cities and villages. De-icers, such as salt or sand/salt combinations, and plowing are often used on snow covered roads.  Sometimes a road can be cleared in a single pass by a snow plow.  However, if snow and drifting are substantial, it may take longer.

How much does it have to snow before my street is plowed?
There is no magical amount of snowfall necessary for plowing to begin.  Generally, we try to begin winter operations before snowy or slippery conditions develop.  From November to March, road department employees patrol county roads from 10:30 pm to 7:00 am in addition to normal working hours checking for icy conditions or snow accumulation.  The night patrol takes care of the problem areas, but, if they are unable to keep up rapidly changing conditions, they call in additional drivers.

Which county roads are plowed first?
The Ingham County Road Department's first priority is to clear roads most frequently traveled and those that have winter problem areas, such as bridges, railroad crossings, hills, curves and signalized intersections.  The roads cleared first are generally primary roads which carry at least 1,500 vehicles per day.

Then, local roads averaging 1,000 vehicles per day or having schools or fire stations on them are cleared.  After that, remaining primary roads are treated by plowing, salting or salt/sand combination.  Finally, local roads and subdivisions streets are cleared.  This may be late evening or the day following the storm.  As time permits, shoulders are plowed to increase visibility and provide space for disabled vehicles.

There are occasionally variations to this procedure to allow for efficiency of operation.

Is there a correct way to shovel my driveway?
YES.  Pile snow behind the curb or shoulder on your side of the road.  Shoveling or plowing snow from driveways into or across roads is illegal and it can present a serious traffic hazard to motorists.

Will my car be towed if it is parked in the snow path?
You must remove your vehicle from the roadway when a winter storm is forecasted.  This allows plows to clear the full road width.  Abandoned cars that interfere with plowing equipment may be towed or ticketed by local law enforcement agencies.