Storm keeping snowplows busy |

Storm keeping snowplows busy

Staff Reports

With the first round of winter storms, Douglas County Public Works is busy plowing, salting and clearing to keep our roads safe. Winter is just starting and can bring harsh and ever-changing weather conditions.

Monday, the Douglas County School District delayed the start of school for 90 minutes to chain up buses and provide time to plow some of the routes.

Douglas County has a snow removal policy which determines how and when county roads are plowed. The policy has been established to ensure county resources are deployed (consisting of five snow plows) and services are provided efficiently, effectively and at low cost to the taxpayers. Douglas County works in partnership with the Nevada Department of Transportation, the towns of Minden, Gardnerville and Genoa and various other general improvement districts to provide snow removal services from Topaz to the Carson Range and the Pine Nut Mountains to Lake Tahoe.

“This storm has been particularly challenging for us due to the changing weather conditions consisting of snow, rain, sleet and ice,” said Jon Erb, transportation engineering manager. “We are working around the clock to be as proactive as possible with public safety as the top priority.”

County-maintained roads are classified into three categories for snow removal. The first priority is arterial roadways or major roads having high traffic volumes and speeds. These roadways are top priority to ensure accessibility for emergency vehicles. Plowing and sanding of these roads is performed during the night, on weekends, and holidays.

The second priority consists of collector roadways and local streets. Once snowfall subsides and arterial roadways have been safely cleared, equipment is then deployed to plow collector roadways and school bus routes. Collector roadways distribute traffic between arterial roadways and residential streets and often serve as links between subdivisions. Collector roadways normally do not provide direct access to private property. Local streets and cul-de-sacs are intended for low to moderate traffic volumes within subdivisions and provide direct access to residences or private property. The plowing of local streets and cul-de-sacs is typically addressed after arterial and collector roadways have been cleared. All local streets and cul-de-sacs are plowed during every storm unless accumulations are minor and are expected to melt the following day.

The third priority consists of all county-maintained unpaved roads. Many times the snow melts quickly after normal snowfall events and it is unnecessary to plow unpaved roads. Normal snowfall (one foot or less) is typically removed within 72 hours, or as warranted, if sufficient manpower and equipment are available.

The Douglas County snow removal policy states that crews will be sent out at four inches of accumulated snow on the roads. Sidewalk snow removal is not part of the county’s snow removal process. Douglas County would like to remind drivers who follow too close and even pass the plows during snow removal operations can create very dangerous situations.

Douglas County would like to remind the public to wait until the road is plowed before cleaning out the end of their driveway due to the fact that there is no practical way to plow the road without depositing snow into the driveway. The public can also help by placing snow on the side of your driveway in the same direction the plow is traveling, then the plow will carry snow away from your driveway.

If a storm is approaching it is best to check the conditions and prepare for any winter weather you might encounter. Winter road conditions can be checked at

For information on snow removal call Douglas County Public Works Department at 775-782-9035.