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When a Snow Plan Comes Together 
Knoxville has seen lots of snowfalls over the years. Who can forget the great “Blizzard of ‘93” when East Tennessee was blanketed with heavy snow for weeks. 

This week’s snow? Only about an inch. Even better news is that Knoxville’s Public Service and Fleet crews were ready for a foot of snow. They always are.

Every year, our City crews carry out our snow plan seamlessly to keep our residents safe on the roads.

They are the vanguard, ever vigilant, and they lead the way in keeping our roads safe during the lightest or heaviest weather threats.

Their goal is clear: remove snow and ice from streets and permit safe and orderly flow of traffic. And they start preparing many hours before the first flake falls. In fact, City Public Service and Fleet teams were on the job this week before dawn. That’s because there is nothing more important to the City than keeping everyone safe.

The Mayor says she could not be more proud of the snow crews, who started pre-treating streets last Monday and then reported to work at 3 a.m. Tuesday to get ahead of the snowfall. “I thank our police officers, firefighters and Knoxville Area Transit drivers, who roll in all weather conditions,” said Mayor Rogero.

“We’ve got a great team that mobilizes early for possible snow, and our first one for the year was no exception. Even though this week’s was a really light one,” said Chad Weth, City Public Service Director.

“With the right forecast, we start pre-treating city streets with a brine solution 48 hours before snow hits. This alone can make a world of difference. Our priority begins with assuring access to hospitals and keeping open the primary traffic arteries, like Chapman Highway, Broadway, and Kingston Pike.  Once that’s done, we focus on the feeder streets that connect to those main arteries, then we switch our focus to taking care of our neighborhood connectors.”

Out of the department’s 293 employees, 75 are drivers for snow events. And like the Fleet team, Public Service starts training specifically for this kind of weather every fall. They start every year with 2,000 tons of salt.

The City Fleet Service team keeps 1,500 vehicles humming and maintained and that includes City Police, Fire Department and Public Service trucks. So when snow is on the way to Knoxville, Public Service drivers are confident on the job, pre-treating our streets. This crew maintains and repairs vehicles and equipment year round. 

“We’re ready full-scale regardless of the size the snow. It all starts before the snow hits,” said Nicholas Bradshaw, Fleet Service Deputy Director. 

“That means every plow and every truck stays greased and maintained. During snow, we even operate a safety lane for every city truck in the snow event to pull in the shop every eight hours and go through a maintenance and repair checklist,” said Bradshaw. “Big trucks can break down when they’re working hard.”

“Fleet is a supporting player in this arrangement, so our Public Service guys can do their best work,” said Bradshaw. 

Simply put, it’s all hands on deck for City crews to be ready for snow.

These first responders are always ready when threatening weather is coming, and it makes all the difference to Knoxville.

A few facts: When snow threatens, City resources and manpower are ready to deploy:

Up to 25,000 gallons of brine, which is mixed at the City’s Public Works Service Center;
8,000 gallons of calcium chloride, used in extreme temperatures;
2,000 tons of rock salt;
23 trucks used for plowing and salting;
Seven trucks used for brine application; and
Up to 75 employees as needed for storm response.

Review our City snow plan here and get more winter storm information at KnoxvilleTN.gov/winter.
Posted by ptravis On 01 February, 2019 at 10:39 AM