Winter Storm Operations
In the event of a winter storm, our crews work proactively around the clock to keep Charlestown’s streets as safe as possible. In the most serious or prolonged weather conditions, it can become increasingly difficult for even our rugged equipment to navigate in some areas. Rest assured we are committed to an all-hands-on-deck approach to navigating these situations and will adapt our resources and manpower accordingly to provide the best service possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these times.
We realize it’s frustrating to be unable to travel in these conditions - please make safety your priority and thank you for understanding that our crews are doing the best they can - but cannot control the weather and other factors, and sometimes we just have to have a little more patience and wait for the storm to pass.
Due to the many variables associated with winter weather, each event is unique. Factors that influence our operations and their effectiveness include but are not limited to:
- Air and pavement temperatures
- Precipitation rates and types
- Storm event duration
- Time of onset
- Traffic activity
- Wind speeds and directions
Obstructions in the roadway such as stalled or abandoned vehicles, trash cans left off the curb, or on-street parking can also greatly impact our team’s ability to effectively clear city streets.
Staffing & Supply
Availability of equipment, personnel and materials are also key factors that impact the effectiveness of snow and ice efforts. In extended weather events, our staffing plan may need to be adapted to allow our drivers time to sleep between long shifts. Local supply of salt and brine can also become limited, disrupting regular operations or requiring temporary rationing to focus on main roadways.
Snow Removal Operation
Even though we tend to call it removal, we can’t truly remove the snow and ice. The most we can do is move it. That’s a reality we all face. This holds particularly true in situations like today when snow and ice continue to fall during removal operations and during peak travel times. The roadways can unfortunately be covered again quickly. There are also some places that in heavy ice conditions, even our trucks cannot safely travel to clear.
Our trucks initially make a pass up one traveled lane and back down the other. Main roads are cleared first. After the entire route has had these initial passes, the drivers go back to widen, clean intersections and clean cul-de-sacs on their route. Depending on when and how long the snow and ice event lasts will dictate how soon and how frequently crews can reach the lesser traveled areas.
Likewise, drivers must be provided some time to sleep to ensure safe operation of these large trucks and plows. Most of the City of Charlestown’s snow removal team consists of the same crews that during the day run our daily trash routes, maintain our parks and facilities, and make repairs to streets and sidewalks.
Jurisdiction of Roads
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is responsible for the State Highways that run through Charlestown, and many of the areas outside of the municipal city limits are mitigated by the Clark County Highway Department. Some areas, while residential or open to travel, remain in the possession of developers and are considered private property and thus their responsibility for clearing.
If you are unsure regarding where a particular area lies, or have a question, request, or complaint regarding Charlestown’s snow removal operations, please email Public Works Director, Tubby Purcell. You may also include City Hall in the email.
Please keep in mind that during these events, Tubby is boots on the ground as well and may not be able to respond to your email right away, but our City Hall staff will help follow up whenever possible.