Keep­ing road­ways safe dur­ing all sea­sons

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - Bill Shreve is the Charles County Di­rec­tor of the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works.

Win­ter weather can stretch from the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber through March in Charles County. Dur­ing th­ese months, snow clear­ance is vi­tal to en­sur­ing your safety. The De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works re­minds res­i­dents to keep side­walks clear of snow and ice af­ter win­ter storms.

Keep your neigh­bor­hoods safe for emer­gency per­son­nel, pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists by clear­ing side­walks. Re­mem­ber to as­sist el­derly and dis­abled neigh­bors who are un­able to move snow. Clear­ing drive­ways and en­trances of snow is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the prop­erty owner, home­own­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion or busi­ness.

When shov­el­ing your side­walk, dress in warm lay­ers and cover ex­posed skin. Bend your knees to lift snow, and use your legs, shoul­ders and torso — not back — to avoid in­jury. Push the snow in­stead of lift­ing it, and lift lighter loads at a time. Re­mem­ber to rest when needed and hy­drate. Avoid overex­er­tion by tak­ing breaks.

When it snows, county and con­tract forces con­cen­trate on keep­ing pri­mary county roads and ma­jor res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood streets pass­able. Plow­ing gen­er­ally be­gins when snow be­comes 1 to 3 inches deep and tem­per­a­tures in­di­cate snow will not melt. Even af­ter plow­ing, snow that is hard packed by traf­fic of­ten re­mains on the street, and the plows are un­able to re­move it com­pletely. In this type of sit­u­a­tion, a mix­ture of sand and salt is spread to pro­vide ad­e­quate traction.

It takes a min­i­mum of 12 hours fol­low­ing the end of a 3- to 4-inch snow­fall to plow and/or treat ev­ery pri­mary county road once. Af­ter a 5- to 7-inch snow­fall, you can ex­pect pri­mary and ma­jor res­i­den­tial county roads to be plowed within 18 to 24 hours. Af­ter an 8- to 10inch snow­fall, you can ex­pect pri­mary and ma­jor res­i­den­tial county roads to be plowed within 24 to 36 hours. Up to 15-inch snow­fall re­quires about 36 to 48 hours, and 24 inches re­quires 48 to 60 hours.

Keep in mind the type of snow (wet or pow­der), tem­per­a­tures and wind con­di­tions fol­low­ing a storm can al­ter this sched­ule. In some cases where snow is drift­ing and blow­ing, snow plows will con­cen­trate on snow emer­gency routes and pri­mary roads. This may de­crease re­sponse time to res­i­den­tial or neigh­bor­hood roads.

For more in­for­ma­tion about county snow re­moval, go to www. CharlesCoun­tyMD.gov/pw/roads/snow-re­moval or call 1-888-460SNOW (7669). Re­mem­ber county roads have street names and state roads are num­bered. Call 1-800-543-2515 for state snow re­moval. For more win­ter weather safety tips, go to www.Ready.gov.

Se­vere weather no­tices are posted on­line at www.CharlesCoun­tyMD.gov, www.face­book.com/CharlesCounty and www.twit­ter. com/CharlesCoMD. Weather up­dates are also aired on CCGTV, which broad­casts on Com­cast chan­nel 95 and Verizon chan­nel 10. Sign up for the Cit­i­zen No­ti­fi­ca­tion Sys­tem at www.CharlesCoun­tyCNS.com to re­ceive in­clement weather and traf­fic alerts by text mes­sage, email or phone. For in­for­ma­tion on power out­ages, view the SMECO out­age map at storm­cen­ter.smeco.coop. Call 1-877747-6326 to re­port a power out­age. Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emer­gency.

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