RADFORD – Sunday’s snowstorm brought about six inches of snow and some wintry mix to the City of Radford, causing dangerous road conditions, closing schools on Tuesday, and straining grocery stores.
Radford City Public Schools were closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King. Jr. federal holiday but were closed Tuesday due to the lingering effects of Sunday’s storm. High winds and low temperatures on Monday caused drifting snow and refreezing on road surfaces.
The City of Radford also released an explanation of snow removal and storm procedures for the city, which could provide a valuable resource for future winter weather events.
Snow Removal Preparation and Procedure
How does Radford decide what roads to clear first?
Once the storm hits, snow removal crews work around the clock to clear city roads and make them passable for safe travel. In any winter storm, crews’ first priority is to clear the roads that have the most traffic, the primary roads. An example of a primary road in Radford is East and West Main Street. Major secondary roads with vital emergency and public facilities or those with high traffic volumes are also plowed during this time. During this phase of snow removal, crews are working to clear a path wide enough for traffic to move through. Snow emergency routes are also among the top priorities. Once the snow has stopped and main roads are clear, residential streets and neighborhoods will be plowed. After every street has had a path created, crews will go back through to all streets to widen the road.
Why do plows block my driveway with snow when they clear the road?
To make as many roads passable as quickly as possible, there is no way to avoid this practice. The city is sorry for this inconvenience. Plow operators push snow off the roadway in smooth, continuous passes, and the angle on the plow allows for wider streets, but the snow must be moved to the sides of the road. The snow ends up in gutters and on road shoulders, sometimes blocking driveways. To avoid double work, shovel snow from your driveway after the snow plow has been by and shovel the snow to the right of your driveway, as you face the road.
Why doesn’t Radford put salt on the roads before it snows?
Putting salt on roads before it snows wastes time and money since the salt can blow off the pavement. Salt is most effective after the snow has accumulated about an inch and the temperature is 27 degrees or higher. This allows the snow and salt to mix together, melting the snow into a slush that can be plowed off the pavement.
Who is responsible for clearing my sidewalk?
You or your property owner is responsible for clearing the sidewalk surrounding your property.
Radford City Code Sec. 90-5. – Removal of snow, sleet, and ice from sidewalks.
“It shall be the duty of the owner of any property, improved or unimproved, that adjoins any sidewalk within the city to remove all snow, sleet, and ice from such sidewalk within twenty-four (24) hours after the snow, sleet, or ice has ceased falling. In the event the property is leased or otherwise occupied, then the tenant or occupant of the property shall be required to comply with the requirements of this section.
“If the snow, sleet, or ice is not removed as required above, then the city manager or his designee may notify the owner, tenant, or occupant of the property that the city will remove the snow, sleet, or ice at the owner’s, tenant’s, or occupant’s expense if the sidewalk is not cleared within twenty-four (24) hours after being given notice of a violation of this section. Notice of a violation of this section may be given to the owner, tenant, or occupant of the property by first-class mail hand-delivery or by posting a copy of the notice on the property.
“If the snow, sleet, or ice is not removed from the sidewalk within twenty-four (24) hours after notice is given to the owner, tenant, or occupant, then the city may clear the sidewalk and charge and collect the costs from the owner, tenant, or occupant of the property. The city may use city staff or hire independent contractors to clear the sidewalk. Costs for removal of snow, sleet, and ice, including an administrative fee as set by general resolution of the city council. may be charged to the owner, tenant, or occupant and collected in any manner provided by law for the collection of local taxes and shall constitute a lien against any property where the violation is found to exist. Decisions to clear snow, sleet, or ice from sidewalks as provided by this section shall be based on established pedestrian travel priorities developed by the city manager’s office.
“A violation of this section shall constitute a class 4 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in Section 1-7 of the city code. Each day a violation of this section continues to exist shall be considered a separate offense. This general penalty shall be available in addition to the city’s authority to compel correction of the violation as otherwise provided in this section.”