Penfield DPW ready to handle winter weather

Winter weather has arrived, and the Penfield Department of Public Works has equipment and supplies prepared to meet the demands of the unpredictable upstate New York winter ahead.

Each year, the DPW is in winter operations mode from November to April. During this time, winter parking rules are in effect, snow fences are up, the salt barn is stocked, trucks are outfitted with plows and salters, and dispatchers are on duty 24/7 to monitor road conditions.   

In total, the Town of Penfield is responsible for snow and ice operations over 290 lane miles of Town roads along with an additional 200 lane miles of New York State and Monroe County roads. To cover the almost 500 lanes miles, the Town is divided into 18 plow routes and four sidewalk plows.

“As a Town, one of our most important functions is keeping roads passable during the winter months,” said Town Supervisor Debbie Drawe. “I am so thankful for the dedicated group of professionals at our DPW. I know this group will be working extremely hard to ensure you can traverse our roadways safely this winter.”

No winter season or winter weather event is alike; however, the Town of Penfield has established guidelines to respond to winter weather.

General plowing and salting guidelines: 

  • Dispatchers are on duty 24/7 to share reports with DPW foremen. Methods to treat roadways vary based on numerous factors including:
    • Weather forecast, current conditions, ambient temperature, ground temperature, time of day or night, and day of the week
  • Plow runs prioritized to provide the greatest benefit to travelers and emergency services
    • Operations first target main thoroughfares including Routes 441, 250, Browncroft Blvd./Atlantic Ave., Empire Blvd., followed by secondary roads like Five Mile Line Road, Panorama Trail, Creek Street, Plank Road, and then subdivisions
  • 18-truck run includes plowing all Town, County, and State roads vs. a 9-truck run which includes only main Town roads (no subdivisions), County, and State roads.
    • Dependent on the time and road conditions  
  • Full plow routes take approximately four hours to complete 
    • For overnight snowfall, plow truck operators are called in between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. with the goal of clearing roads for the morning commute by 7:30 a.m.
    • Other plowing operations are done as needed based on time and conditions
  • Based on conditions, salt is utilized on hills, curves, and intersections
    • Plow trucks are equipped with GPS speedometer-regulated salter control technology to ensure material is being applied evenly on road surfaces. The typical application rate of salt is 250 lbs. per lane mile, roughly equivalent to five 5-gallon buckets of material
    • Sand is occasionally mixed with the salt to help provide traction assistance
  • Sidewalks are plowed using four tractors with V-plows when approximately two inches of snow falls. Salt is not applied on the sidewalks.
As always, drivers are asked to exercise caution during winter weather. When plowing and salting operations are underway, please don’t crowd the plow and give crews room to work.

“We are prepared to respond to whatever winter throws at us,” said DPW Director Eric Tait. “When our crews are out, please give them space to work efficiently and safely. We really appreciate the community’s attention to this.”

For more information on snow management practices in the Town of Penfield, click here.