Public Works’ guide to winter operations

Date: January 18, 2019

Thank you for your patience and understanding during snowy winter months. Our Public Works road crews work hard to keep roads safe for driving by clearing them of ice, snow and other hazards. 

Our Winter Operations Plan

Providing safe travel for residents and those employed in the Centre Region is our goal. 

Our “snow fighters” reduce the negative impacts of travel during the winter months. “Without their services,” said Ferguson Township Public Works Director Dave Modricker, “vehicle crashes multiply, congestion causes lost work time, schools close, emergency operations are hampered, and businesses suffer the loss of profits.”

Planning is one of the most essential parts of preparing for any emergency, including snow and ice removal. The Ferguson Township Snow Operations Policy provides guidance to the crew members as they work to maintain approximately 100 miles of equivalent two-lane roadways in the Township. Following the Township’s plan relieves much of the stress brought on by the task of snow fighting so that our crews can provide the best possible snow removal services as efficiently as can be expected.

Factors that affect our snow fighting operation include the amount of snow, rate of snow, duration of snowfall, timing of the storm, temperature, wind conditions, and the type of precipitation (wet or dry snow, rain, sleet). Our crews go out whenever the snowfall reaches two or more inches. We also go out to treat icy conditions or when called to assist by the Ferguson Township Police Department. 

Our Snow Fighting Crew

The Ferguson Township Snow Removal Crew is a team of operators highly trained in the latest technology and procedures for snow removal.

During the winter months, the crew is divided into two teams—each scheduled to work 12-hour shifts. 

The Township complies with all laws governing CDL drivers. Therefore, the Township is required to give drivers 10 hours of rest after each 12-hour plowing shift. 

Our ultimate goal is safety. The well-being of our residents and our road crews is essential in the delivery of service. 

Our Level of Service

It’s the Township’s goal to reasonably clear roads and other areas of snow and ice as efficiently as practical in accordance with our plan.

It is important to note that streets may not always be cleared to the blacktop. Some snow and slush may remain on the road surface, especially if the snow is light and powdery and there is little likelihood that the snow will refreeze.

Roads designated as snow emergency routes shall take precedence.

The following roads are designated as Snow Emergency Routes:

Blue Course Drive
Circleville Road
Science Park Road 
Valley Vista Drive
Whitehall Road
Pine Grove Road (SR 45, which is maintained by PennDOT)

Once the main roads are cleared, the road crew begins clearing the residential and connecting streets, followed by certain Shared Use Paths. 

During winter operations, snow emergency routes are first priority. Once the main roads are cleared, the road crew begins clearing the residential and connecting streets, followed by shared use paths. 

Public Works performs winter maintenance on eight Shared Use Paths in the Township. Learn more

Shared Use Path Winter Maintenance Map

To ensure that Township snow plows have access:

Parking will be prohibited on all streets, roads and highways in the Township at all times within 48 hours after a snowfall of two or more inches has fallen. 

This prohibition is in effect regardless of whether or not a snow emergency is declared. 

Residents and business owners are reminded not to push or blow snow into the roadway from your driveway, parking lot or sidewalk.

To be notified by e-mail when to remove your vehicle from the street, sign up for Winter Weather Reminders 

In case of declared snow emergencies:

The Pennsylvania Governor or his designee may declare a snow emergency, which lifts the restrictions on CDL drivers that would otherwise apply. In such cases, the road crew is not obligated to rest 10 hours after a 12-hour plowing shift.

The Ferguson Township Manager is authorized by ordinance §15-601 to declare a snow emergency at his discretion. When the Township Manager declares a snow emergency, parking is prohibited on designated snow emergency routes, and vehicles are prohibited from driving on snow emergency routes without chains, snow tires, or all-weather tires. 

After any snow emergency is declared, it shall be unlawful at any time during the continuance of the emergency, for any person:

• To park a motor vehicle or to allow that vehicle to remain parked anywhere on any snow emergency route designated in Chapter 15 §15-603. (Ferguson Township Ordinance)
• To drive any motor vehicle on any such snow emergency route, unless that vehicle is equipped with all weather tires, snow tires or chains.

Please direct any questions or concerns about snow removal to the Ferguson Township Public Works Department by calling (814) 238-4651 or by completing our Contact Us form.

Winter Weather Reminders and Snow Removal Policies for Residents

By the numbers:

In 2017 – 2018, our Public Works crew responded to 27 winter weather events
and applied 1,556 tons of salt. 

The previous year — 2016 – 2017 — our first responders cleared roads on 28 winter weather events and applied 1,415 tons of salt.  

In advance of our next snowstorm or winter weather event, we’ve compiled an FAQ about Ferguson Township Winter Operations. See below. What additional questions do you have about our snow fighting operations? Use our Contact Us form to let us know. 

Snowstorm FAQ