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FAQ: Snow & Ice Removal 2020-2021

February 10, 20201 -- After a relatively mild start to winter, snow has certainly come to the Chicago area! Find answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding snow and ice removal below. Detailed information from Public Works is also available, and additional FAQs are posted here. If your question is not answered below, please reach out to Public Works at 847.432.0807. After business hours, please contact Police Non-Emergency: 847.432.7730.

  1. When are specific streets plowed?
    Under normal snowfall conditions (which is considered three-inches or less), all public streets are plowed within the first six hours. However, it is important to note the initial snow removal operations are staged simultaneously throughout the City. Multiple plowing passes along streets are typically required to move snow to the curb and response times can vary and could extend beyond 6 hours, depending on the magnitude, duration, and timing of the snow event. Regardless, snow removal operations will continue until all public streets are passable and all parking areas have been cleared.

  2. When are public sidewalks plowed?
    The City maintains an estimated 130 miles of sidewalk. The City plows 32 miles of sidewalk, in close proximity to schools, train stations, public buildings, and business districts, for all snow events irrespective of snowfall amounts. Typically, the 32 miles of public sidewalks plowed by the City are pre-wet using a brine solution prior to snowfall.
    Upon accumulation of 4” or more of snow, the City’s authorized contractor will plow the remaining 98 miles of public sidewalks. Sidewalk plowing typically starts 12 to 24 hours after the start of the snowfall and could take up to 24 to 48 hours or more to complete the entire plowing operation of public sidewalks, as the priority is to clear the streets first.
    As a reminder, for snow totals less than 4”, public sidewalks are not plowed by the City's authorized contractor. It is the responsibility of the abutting property or business owners to clear public sidewalks. Additionally, depositing snow onto sidewalks makes it difficult for pedestrians to walk on the sidewalk. The deposited snow on the sidewalk also hinders City and private sidewalk plow contractors (where applicable) to clear the walks in a timely and effective manner.

  3. Why do plows occasionally fill driveway approaches?
    Plows need to make multiple passes to push snow to the curbs. Plows initially clear the center of each street so cars can travel in both directions. Upon completion of this task, they will return to push the snow to the curbs. This helps melting snow to enter the storm sewers or other drainage systems. The City has approximately 10,000 residential driveways and unfortunately it is not possible for plow trucks to turn the snow blade away at each driveway. While plow operators try to avoid this from happening, unfortunately as the snow is plowed, snow does get deposited in driveway apron area, within City right of way.

  4. What if a snow plow damages my property or mailbox?
    Snow plowing is performed under challenging weather and traffic conditions including reduced visibility. Occasionally, areas adjacent to a street can be damaged without the knowledge of the plow operator.  Any hardscape or streetscape items within the right-of-way remains the homeowner’s responsibility.  Lawns damaged inadvertently by a City plow truck, within City right of way, will be repaired the following spring, upon receiving notification by the homeowner.
    If a mailbox was damaged by City plow equipment, please contact the Street Foreman at 847.926.1147 within 24 to 48 hours of damage. City will place a temporary mailbox and then either repair the damage or reimburse the resident up to $65 for the purchase and installation of a replacement mailbox.

  5. Who should residents call?
    During regular working hours, contact the Street Foreman, Randy Abbott at 847.926.1147. During off-hours or emergencies, please contact the Police non-emergency hotline at 847.432.7730 and for all emergencies, please call 911.