SNOW ROUTE INFORMATION
The City of El Paso’s Public Works Department is committed to keeping all roads within the city safe and navigable before, during and after every winter event as an “Open Road” objective.
The open road objective should not be confused with a “Bare Pavement” objective. An open road objective provides that the street should be passable with only a reasonable amount of inconvenience, based upon the actual storm conditions and should provide a safe driving surface, if reasonable driving caution is taken considering weather conditions.
The department has two single axle five-yard plow trucks and three smaller plow trucks to help maintain over 40 lane miles of roadways, which include just under two miles of alleys and 40 miles of streets, some requiring up to 4 passes to clear both driving and parking lanes. Trucks are assigned to 2 routes with average round lengths of 4 hours depending on the snow accumulation. These routes are primarily staffed by the Streets Department, but in the advent of extended events, the City will staff 2 round the clock 12 hour shifts made up of members from the Water and Sewer Departments also.
The City of El Paso plows most of the streets within the city limits; however there are many roads that are the responsibility of other government agencies: US Route 24 (Main Street) and US Route 251 (North & South Fayette Street).
In addition to plowing, the City applies salt to help combat ice buildup. We do not use abrasive agents or blended mixes of cinders, sand or chips due to the ultimate depositing of these as sediment in the storm sewers and detention basins. Salt is still one of the best products available for melting snow and ice; however it is most effective at temperatures of 25°F or above. Traffic also aids the melting process, which is why less traveled roads may remain slick and snow covered while roadways with higher traffic volumes are clear. Regardless drivers are reminded that the lower the temperature the less effective salt becomes.
While the city maintains this strategy, it cannot guarantee results simply due to the uncertainty that each storm presents. Snow accumulations of an inch per hour are extremely difficult to keep up with. Timing of the storm in unison with traffic, holidays and day time hours create additional tactical problems. The city will plow the practical full pavement width to maintain adequate road capacity for future storms. Plowing is performed as allowed by road geometry with the idea of dispersing equal amounts of snow to either side of the road. As a result, snow will almost certainly end up in driveways and could result in homeowners clearing their driveways multiple times. All vehicles need to be removed from the streets when snow plowing operations are taking place according to El Paso City Ordinance 994-I.
As always the City and Division of Public Works appreciates the Patience, understanding and cooperation of its citizens during this process.