Snow & Ice Control
Maintaining safe winter driving conditions on City streets is a priority of the Coralville Streets Department. Current conditions and weather forecasts are continuously monitored so that crews are ready before the flakes begin to fly.
Snow Removal at a Glance
- Plowing begins when snow accumulations reach two to three inches as measured by the Streets Department.
- Salt and / or sand is spread when the City determines the streets are in a hazardous condition, with an emphasis on hills, curves, and main intersections.
- The City re-plows or re-spreads based on the available weather information and current street conditions.
- During a typical snowfall, streets are cleared within 24 hours after the snowfall ends and are plowed within 24 inches of the curb, unless restricted by parked vehicles.
Priority Order of Streets
The City plows and treats public streets in the following order (exceptions may be made for emergencies):
- Arterial streets
- Transit routes
- School area streets (a three block radius around public schools, if in session)
- Remaining residential streets
Clearing Residential Streets & Cul-De-Sacs
Typical Winter Events
During typical winter events, after the arterial streets, transit routes, and school area streets are cleared:
- A plow truck is sent to each of seven snow removal zones, which allows crews to simultaneously remove snow throughout Coralville.
During major winter storms, after the snow stops falling and the arterial streets, transit routes, and school area streets are cleared:
- Plow trucks and end loaders are sent to one zone at a time to make an initial pass. Under this system, all of the operators work together in a zone to improve efficiency, completing one zone before moving onto another.
- After all zones are cleared, crews begin to push snow back from curbs and haul snow from intersections as needed.
Sidewalks & Curb Ramps
Snow and ice-covered walkways are a nuisance and a hazard. Curb ramps (where the sidewalk meets the street) become inaccessible by wheelchair, stroller, or foot when covered or blocked by snow and ice.
When to Shovel
If you are a Coralville property owner, you are required to remove snow and ice from your public sidewalks and curb ramps abutting your property within 24 hours after the ice/snowfall ends. (see Code of Ordinances, 136.03, "Removal of Snow, Ice and Accumulations").
How Much to Shovel
Clear snow down to the concrete and the entire width of the sidewalk. A wheelchair, walker, or stroller or cannot get through a narrow path.
Unshoveled Sidewalks & Curb Ramps
The City inspects covered sidewalks and curb ramps on a complaint basis. Inspections are generally made within two business days as weather and staff resources allow, prioritizing hazardous issues. An address must be provided for staff to inspect. To report an issue, call 319.248.1740 or report it online.
If the City inspects and determines that a public sidewalk or curb ramp hasn't been cleared within 24 hours after the end of the snowfall:
- A notice is posted on the door of the property. Property owners have 24 hours from the violation notice to remove snow or ice accumulations from their sidewalks and curb ramps.
- If sidewalks remain uncleared upon re-inspection, the City will clear the snow / ice and assess the removal costs against the property owner. Fees are based upon the amount of time required to clear the walkway. Learn about violations and fees.
Where to Put the Snow
Do yourself and other drivers a favor: do not shovel, plow, or blow snow into the street. It creates slick spots when vehicles drive over the snow and compact it, and makes it more difficult for crews to clear the street. The snow that falls on your property should stay on your property.
Noise & Snow Removal
Do not use motor-powered, muffler-equipped snow removal equipment (such as a gas snow blower) between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am; it’s not permitted under the City’s noise control ordinance (see Code of Ordinances, 48.05, “Noise Control: Excluded Sounds”). City-owned or City-hired snow removal is allowed during these hours.
Before the Storm
Anti-icing streets with a liquid solution of salt brine prior to a winter storm is a proactive approach. It is applied before a snow/ice event to reduce the chance that ice will bond to the pavement, helps to avoid slick and snow-compacted roads, and makes it easier to clear roads after a snowfall.
Before a winter storm, when conditions are right, crews use anti-icing products on:
- Major streets
- Bus routes
- Big hills
The effectiveness of anti-icing (salt brine) depends on using the right amount in the right place at the right time. The air temperature, road temperature, wind speed, pavement conditions, and forecast are all factors in determining whether anti-icing can be used.
View facts about anti-icing (brine)
During the Storm
De-icing streets with road salt, treated with salt brine and beet juice, is a reactive approach: it is used after snow and ice have started. De-icing works from the top down to reduce the hard bond of snow/ice to the roadway.
While using salt alone lowers the freezing temperature, salt brine jump starts the process for the chemical reaction to take place and melting to start. If temperatures dip, the effectiveness of salt is reduced.
Sand is used only if temperatures are below 10-15 degrees and/or if there are high winds.
Sand improves traction by increasing friction and helping to prevent tires from slipping on slick roads. Sand can also help prevent new ice from forming on roads: as sand grains move from vehicle tires or wind, it makes it difficult for water molecules to stick together and form ice as quickly as it can on untreated roads.
In some instances, even with thorough plowing, it’s not possible to clear streets down to the bare pavement. Poor weather conditions, combined with vehicles driving over the snow, can cause roads to become slick with compacted snow.
When temperatures fall well below freezing, and with a wind chill making it even colder, de-icing agents have a limited effect. In those cases, even with diligent re-plowing, weather conditions may need to change for crews to successfully remove the compacted snow.