Keeping roads clear in Greater Lafayette during winter weather

The Lafayette and West Lafayette street departments asks residents to keep cars out of the streets this weekend.

Posted: Jan 18, 2019 12:35 PM
Updated: Jan 18, 2019 12:37 PM

LAFAYETTE/WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Another round of heavy snow is on it's way back to our viewing area. The street departments in Lafayette and West Lafayette are getting ready to clear the roads and keep everyone safe.

The West Lafayette Street and Sanitation Department is preparing for the heavy snow this weekend. When it does, the street department needs to be able to do their jobs effectively.

Street Commissioner Ben Anderson asks people to not park in the roadways. He said trying to avoid these vehicles slows down their efforts to clear out snow and ice. Also, a mound of snow is left behind once the car is moved which the department comes back to clear.

Anderson said their number one goal is public safety and he is asking for patience and understanding. It takes about seven hours after the last snow fall to clear and push everything off roads. So, unless you absolutely have to go somewhere, he advises people to stay home.

"We hear a lot of times when we're pushing people out of snowdrifts, "Well we just wanted to get out and see how bad it was." It's bad so if it's bad, there are travel advisories just adhere to them and stay home," said Anderson.

Anderson said he put 189 miles on his truck last weekend plowing the snow. He said that's a lot of miles when you never leave town. 

The West lafayette street department needs to clear 236 lane miles of roadways and neighborhoods. Anderson said out of the 73 cul-de-sacs in the city, only one was missed last weekend.

"The big trucks are really hard to do in a cul-de-sac because they don't turn," Anderson said. "There are limited places to put the snow and you have to do those with pickup trucks and we have three pickup trucks.

Anderson said it takes the same about the same amount of time to clear three miles of roadway as it does to clear one cul-de-sac.

The department just received the green light from Board of Works to purchased a multihog tractor. It's compact and powerful and Anderson hopes this will improve snow removal in cul-de-sacs.

In Lafayette, city employees want people to be aware of the snow emergency plan. This means certain streets around the city needs to be clear.

People are asked not to park on those streets so plows and salt trucks can get through. If the Mayor declares a snow emergency, the message will be shared on social media and through the Nixel alert system.

Any vehicle parked on an emergency snow route will be towed 12 hours after the emergency is declared. But if possible, avoid parking on these street whenever it snows said Marketing and Communications Director Patty Payne.

"It's not always possible, we understand that," Payne said. "We never want to tow people, but there are times when it's unavoidable."

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A windy and chilly day is expected. Tonight could be the coldest night of the season so far.
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