133.4 Snow and Ice Control Operations

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133.4.1 Priority Route Classifications

Continuous treatment routes are given top priority. Continuous treatment is the application (and re-application as needed) of snow and ice control treatments on the full length of a specified route, throughout the storm until all lanes are restored to a wet or dry condition. A district continuous treatment system shall include all major highways, minor highways with high traffic volumes (at the district engineer’s discretion) and other urban and community routes designated by the district (regardless of AADT). Continuity of route treatments as well as coordination with adjoining districts (regardless of AADT) shall be addressed between the districts. Snow and ice control shall follow these guidelines and objectives for determining route priorities.

First Priority Routes (Continuous Treatment Routes): All major highways and those designated minor, urban and community routes. This also includes all designated incident bypass routes.

The objective is to have all lanes on these routes restored to a wet or dry condition as soon as possible after the end of the storm. To achieve this objective, continuous application of snow and ice control treatments (and re-application as needed), on the full length of these routes, 24 hours per day throughout the storm, will be necessary. Interstates and other higher AADT routes will be plowed and treated first. The use of anti-icing methods is appropriate for first priority routes.

Second Priority Routes: All other minor highways not included in the first priority routes.

The objective is to have these routes open to two-way traffic and treated with salt and/or abrasives on all hills, curves, intersections and other critical areas as soon as possible after the end of the storm. 24-hour per day coverage is appropriate until the objective has been met. These routes should be prioritized by traffic volume.

Paved Shoulders: The objective is to have paved shoulders plowed during, or shortly after, the storm. Do not treat paved shoulders directly with anti-icing or de-icing chemicals. Removing snow and ice from paved shoulders should be in conjunction with plowing of the traveled lanes in each priority classification, especially the high sides of super-elevated curves, if drifting is occurring, if weather predictions are unfavorable, or to reduce ramping situations. It is not necessary to return paved shoulders to a wet or dry condition as soon as possible after the end of the storm. Obtaining bare pavement on paved shoulders should be accomplished during normal working hours. Paved shoulders next to extended or continuous traffic barriers, bridge parapets, impact attenuators, guardrails, curbs, narrow medians and gore areas should be given special consideration where snow accumulates and has the potential to form ramps.

Sight distance locations such as at intersections and interchanges should be cleared of any obstructions caused by snow piles or accumulations. Snow and ice removal operations shall remain in effect on a 24-hour per day basis until the above-mentioned objectives are met and sustained for both first and second priorities.

Post storm clean up during normal working hours includes continued plowing and treating of second priority routes, bridge flushing and sweeping, equipment cleaning and maintenance, and salt storage housekeeping.

Refer to Intent.

Reasons for policy: To ensure the routes with the most traffic are cleared first and provide uniform statewide snow removal practices.
Effective Date: 6/1/99
Revision Dates: 6/17/03, 10/14/05, 12/01/06, 8/16/07

133.4.2 Mailboxes and Snow and Ice Control

MoDOT shall repair or replace, as required, those mailboxes and posts that have been damaged due to snow and ice removal operations. Replacement mailboxes shall comply with Post Office standards. Questionable situations should be referred to risk management.

Reasons for policy: To establish a procedure for dealing with these situations, ensure each situation is handled in the same manner and ensure continuous mail service.
Effective Date:6/1/99

133.4.3 Limits of Snow and Ice Control Work

MoDOT does not assume responsibility for the removal or clearance of snow, ice or sleet, or the opening of windrows of such material, on any sidewalk or entrance along any state highway even though snow, ice or sleet, is deposited or windrowed on these sidewalks or entrances by department personnel. Maintenance and urban agreements with municipalities, in most cases, call only for the plowing of snow from the traveled portions of the street or roadway and there is no obligation to plow parking lanes or to remove the snow deposited from plowing the traveled way.

Reasons for policy: MoDOT's responsibility is snow removal from state highways in a timely manner and liability problems with use of equipment on private property
Effective Date: 6/1/99

133.4.4 Emergencies Off Right of Way

In the event of life threatening emergencies, MoDOT will respond to a request from an official or medical entity such as State Highway Patrol, police, sheriff, paramedical, ambulance service, doctor or fire department to open a non-MoDOT system road closed by snow. Other catastrophic events will require authorization by the district engineer.

Reason for policy: Establish procedures for off system snow removal work in emergency situations
Effective Date: 6/1/99
Revision Dates: 6/17/03

133.4.5 Safety Precautions during Snow and Ice Control


Lights - Lights and snow plow reflectors shall be checked repeatedly to ensure they are in good condition, operating properly and visible to all traffic. Operators shall clean all lights periodically during storms.

Stopping on Roadways - Equipment should not be stopped on the roadway surface to engage spreaders, or talk to another operator. Equipment should be pulled off the roadway to a safe spot to perform these tasks.

Slow Moving Equipment - Slow moving equipment shall stop occasionally at safe turn out locations to allow traffic to pass.

Flaggers and Signing - Flaggers and appropriate signing shall be used during post storm operations when shifting snow, cleaning bridge decks, loading snow or any operation which interferes with the normal flow of traffic.

Bridges - Operators shall avoid pushing snow over bridge railings onto roads or railroads.

Railroad Crossings - Always raise the snow plow or grader blade to adequate clearance before crossing. Notify railroad authorities in case crossing cannot be cleared at once. Spreaders should be shut off through crossing

Reason for policy: Establish safety procedures for snow and ice removal operations
Effective Date: 6/1/99
Revision Dates: 6/17/03

133.4.6 Statewide Winter Road Condition Report

A statewide winter road condition report shall be made available to update the traveler information map on MoDOT’s internet web site. Every year between November 1 and March 30, districts shall update the winter road condition report at the beginning of each workday, even if there is not a winter storm. Conditions will be reported as clear, partly covered, covered and closed. During winter weather, even if the storm falls outside of November 1 to March 30, districts shall report changes in road conditions as they occur, or at least every four hours throughout the winter event. Customers will rely on the information they find on the traveler information map, therefore we encourage districts to do updates more often on nights and weekends when roads are icy, snow covered or wet, and freezing may occur. After a storm ends, districts shall continue to report all changes in road conditions a minimum of every four hours until all priority one roads have returned to clear conditions. Districts that are unaffected by a winter storm only need to update information once per workday.

Reason for policy: To ensure report users that the statewide report is correct and up to date, all districts must keep the reporting data current and accurate.
Effective Date: 6/1/99
Revision Dates: 6/17/03, 8/16/07, 11/15/07

133.4.7 Abandoned Vehicles

During a snow and/or ice storm situation, MoDOT, with district office approval, may immediately remove any abandoned vehicle if it is creating a traffic hazard because of its position in relation to the state highway. Preferably the Missouri State Highway Patrol will take the lead roll in these situations.

Reasons for policy: RSMo 304.155 Abandoned motor vehicles on public property, and RSMo 229.030 Roads cleared of obstructions
Effective Date: 6/1/99

133.4.8 Winter Event Database

A statewide Winter Event Report Database shall be made available for use by MoDOT Maintenance managers. This database shall be used to report and track information about winter events. Use this database to create a report whenever there are material and/or equipment usage charges related to falling precipitation events such as snow, sleet or freezing rain or non-precipitation events such as frost, black ice or refreeze of melted snow. This includes routine anti-icing efforts prior to an event or for frost control on bridge decks. No report is necessary if you do not have material and/or equipment usage charges.

Effective Date: 10/14/05