City, state prepared for snow removal |

City, state prepared for snow removal

Jill Lufrano

Carson City street workers expect to scatter 35 tons of salt on icy and snow-covered pavement along with 700 to 1,000 yards of sand before winter ends.

And with ice- and snowstorms continuing to visit the area, motorists are advised to keep parked cars off snow route streets if possible and to quickly remove disabled vehicles. Snow routes are designated with red, white and blue signs with a snowflake symbol. They are major arterials and collector streets throughout the city.

Road workers are called to work on the snow routes when there is an accumulation of 2 inches of snow and it is expected to continue snowing.

Selected second-priority side streets are cleared when officials determine the weather is severe enough to declare a “snow emergency.” All other streets are cleared during regular work hours, or if conditions warrant, according to the city’s Public Works department.

Street officials advise drivers to carry chains and slow down during storms.

“The only problem we have is people who don’t have four-wheel drives or snow tires and they are reluctant to chain up,” said Marnell Heinz, Carson City streets operation chief. “They get stuck in the middle of the road and cause an obstruction.”

When snow- or ice storms arrive, Carson road crews start in the Lakeview and Timberline areas at higher elevations, Heinz said. Crews have had to sand roads for ice often this winter, causing an accumulation.

“Once the cloud cover leaves, the ground temperature goes down and everything freezes,” Heinz said. “We’ve had to sand a little more. It’s kind of trying because we have a limited staff.”

The city has a list of local contractors to assist when a major storm hits the area. But the city’s eight snowplows usually are enough to do the job, Heinz said.

Nevada Department of Transportation crews probably sprayed a saltwater mixture on all mountain highways leading to Lake Tahoe from the valley before the snow started this season, said NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder.

The salt left on the road melts the snow and ice and gives road crews an advantage when storms hit, he said.

“With the holiday, we’re ready to go,” Magruder said Wednesday. “We’ve got our maintenance crews on standby.”

The state’s goal is to keep the roads open and monitor wind, moisture and temperatures through solar-powered equipment on regional state highways, Magruder said. As a result, it can respond quickly, he said.

“One of the things our crews take pride in is keeping (the mountain roads) open throughout any storm … not only for a safety standpoint, but the for economic benefit.”

Motorists are warned to watch for “black ice” and be prepared with chains and proper snow tires, Magruder said.

“We’re also asking, if you see a plow, not to pass. Give them their due care,” he said.

Weather forecasters with the National Weather Service in Reno called for gusts to 40 mph and higher today with 2 inches of snow likely in the Carson City area and heavy snow at times in the Lake Tahoe area.

Contact Jill Lufrano at or 881-1217.