Public Works Prepared for Upcoming Snowfall, 2022 Winter Season
PITTSBURGH – The Department of Public Works is expecting the first potentially impactful snowfall of the 2022 winter season tomorrow. Snowfall is expected to begin Thursday evening and continue into Friday morning with a total accumulation of about 1 to 3 inches. Public Works will deploy 22 salt trucks installed with plows when snow begins to fall and will continue treating county-owned roadways until the precipitation stops. The department is monitoring the weather and may adjust its plans based on the latest forecasts.
Public Works is responsible for snow and ice removal on more than 360 miles of roadway, and it has been busy preparing for the first impactful snowfall for several months. Its 52 salt trucks have been thoroughly inspected and are ready to keep county roads passable. They are installed with devices that help supervisors monitor for mechanical issues in real time and ensure that snow routes are completed in a timely and efficient manner.
The department currently has 9,198 tons of salt and 3,705 gallons of liquid calcium chloride in stock, and it will be receiving more throughout the winter season. On average, it uses 18,000 tons of salt and 2,000 gallons of liquid calcium chloride annually.
During winter storms, Public Works’ experienced salt truck drivers are split into shifts to ensure that there are always enough of them available to provide around-the-clock coverage until precipitation stops and county roadways are clear. If needed, they are kept over the end of their shifts and additional drivers are brought in.
The department’s salt truck drivers follow predetermined routes that are designed based on efficiency. Depending on traffic, it takes them about one to two hours to complete their routes. It then takes them about an hour to return to the nearest maintenance garage, reload with salt, and restart their routes. So, if snow is falling quickly, there likely will be accumulation on roadways.
In difficult winter conditions, motorists are encouraged to slow down and leave extra space between their vehicle and the one in front of them. Motorists also should give salt truck drivers plenty of room to operation, so they can treat the roadways as quickly and effectively as possible. For safety reasons, they should not attempt to pass a salt truck.
Prior to winter storms, motorists can increase safety by taking a few steps to prepare. Tire pressure, tire thread, fluid levels, lights, defrosters, and wiper blades should be checked. Drivers might also consider keeping an emergency kit in their vehicle that includes non-perishable food, water, medication, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, blankets, a cell phone charger, and snow shovel.
If a driver or property owner experiences a winter weather-related emergency, they should call 9-1-1 immediately. If they want to report a snow or ice issue on a county-owned roadway, they can call 412‑350-INFO (4636) between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays or 9-1-1 outside of those hours. They also can visit alleghenycounty.us/publicworks and click on “Submit Concern.” Those seeking to find out whether Allegheny County Public Works or another agency is responsible for treating a specific roadway can visit alleghenycounty.us/whoplowsmyroad.