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D.C. Mayor Gray Kicks off Winter with Snow-Removal Team's Dry Run

WI Web Staff | 11/1/2013, 3 p.m.
The District's snow-removal team conducted its annual dry run throughout the city on Friday, as plow drivers and other administrative ...
Courtesy of the D.C. Department of Transportation

The District's snow-removal team conducted its annual dry run throughout the city on Friday, as plow drivers and other administrative personnel practiced their skills for the approaching winter.

"We have seen very little snow during the past two seasons," said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. "In fact, last year we had only 2½ inches. But in 2010-2011, we had 10 inches, and 2009-2010 saw almost 70 inches for the most snow in the District's history.

"And what did we learn from Snowmageddon? We learned that advance preparation is the key to success," the mayor said, in reference to the major snowstorm that blanketed the Mid-Atlantic region in February 2010.

Officials said several improvements have been made to the snow-removal program since last year, most notably the new Fort Reno salt dome in the Tenleytown neighborhood in Northwest, which they said can hold 73 percent more salt than the old dome. Other improvements include:

• Testing the effectiveness of in-cab Automatic Vehicle Locator progress screen that will indicate to the driver what streets have been serviced on their assigned route;

• The addition of three new 325-gallon liquid salt brine spray units to increase pavement pre-treatment prior to snow/ice events;

• Two additional Roadway Weather Information Stations are online to allow greater real time pavement condition information;

• Enhanced safety training and expanded snow plow training with simulator that features scenery to expose drivers to urban driving conditions before they are on the road;

• Services to provide sidewalk shoveling services for the elderly and disabled; and

• Use of pet-safe deicer on bridge sidewalks.

"The District has some of the most dedicated employees anywhere," said city administrator Allen Y. Lew. "The training and dedication that our staffs put into preparing to keep our streets safe is second to none, and our residents will see that in our performance if and when there is a severe weather event."

William O. Howland Jr., director of the city's Department of Public Works (DPW), also emphasized the need for preparation.

"While I hope the 2013-2014 snow season is as undemanding as last year, I know that our training, equipment readiness and supplies inventory have prepared us to handle the 'Big One,'" he said. "Today, we are stronger. We have more equipment, our salt domes are filled, our brine/beet juice deicer is at capacity and you are ready to deploy."

Howland said that Monday, Nov. 4 is the opening day of leaf-collection season and asked residents to dpw.dc.gov to check the schedule to see when DPW will be in their neighborhood to collect leaves.

"Our leaf-collection staff is the backbone of our snow program," he said. "So when we have a credible prediction of snow, we will suspend collecting leaves until we are finished with snow."

For more information on how to receive snow/winter weather notifications and prepare for the winter season, please go to www.snow.dc.gov.