Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t you plow my street now?

Streets within the City are prioritized to clear major travel routes first. This allows public safety vehicles access to most parts of the City. The initial plowing activities also provide most residents a cleared roadway within two-to-three blocks of their home and most destinations in the City. Other factors include locations of schools, hospitals, major commercial centers, and other facilities with large public interest.

The plow left some snow at the end of my driveway. Can you send someone to come and plow it out?

The City has thousands of driveways along City streets. Clearing drive openings would require a large commitment of resources in labor and equipment at a time when those resources are dedicated to clearing primary snow route roadways and neighborhood streets.

Can you tell me exactly when my street will be plowed?

It is the City’s goal to plow all primary snow route streets within 12 hours after the snowfall has stopped. Neighborhood streets will be plowed within 24 hours after primary routes have been completed. Cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets will be plowed within 36 hours after primary routes have been completed. It’s not possible to provide an exact time for clearing each individual street or address. Weather conditions such as blowing or drifting snow or other weather events make exact predictions difficult. See the “Primary Snow Routes Map” on the Snow and Ice Maps page for more information.

Why do you sometimes salt instead of plow or plow instead of salt?

Several factors influence decisions made to reduce winter weather hazards. Current air temperatures, predicted air temperatures, time of day, and precipitation type are all important considerations when determining an appropriate response. In some cases, plowing alone will be most effective at addressing the hazards. In some events, such as cold pavement with dry and blowing snow, application of salt or other chemicals could create a problem by allowing moisture to accumulate and possibly freeze on the otherwise dry pavement.

Why do snow plow trucks sometimes just ride around when it’s not snowing?

Depending on conditions, the trucks may be applying anti-icing materials, checking road conditions, or returning to the Public Works Center for additional materials.

Salt corrodes my car, sidewalk, and drive. Couldn’t you use cinders instead?

Abrasives like sand and cinders are used in some areas to increase traction. Use of abrasives, however, would create additional problems with storm water sedimentation and degradation and obstruct storm water sewers. Abrasives also can cause problems if carried indoors on shoes and boots. Abrasives do not melt snow and ice and are not as effective at providing safer winter roadways.

I have a heart condition. Can you plow my street in case there is an emergency and an ambulance needs to get through?

The Public Works Department works with METCAD, and the Champaign Police and Fire Departments to make sure that these public safety agencies can provide emergency services during winter weather events. Anyone experiencing a medical emergency should call 911. The METCAD dispatchers will make sure a plow is available to clear the way for Fire and ambulance crews.

When is parking prohibited on City streets?

If you live on a snow route, parking is prohibited during a declared snow emergency. Snow emergencies and snow route parking restrictions are announced when needed after a two-inch or more snowfall. Those parking on snow routes should closely monitor local news outlets for information about snow route parking restrictions. For further details, go to the “Emergency Snow Routes Map” on the Snow and Ice Maps page.

Where are cars taken when they are ticketed and towed for being illegally parked on the street during snow removal operations?

Cars towed from City streets are taken to the tow operator’s facility. The Champaign Police Department will be able to tell persons whose cars have been towed where they were relocated. The phone number for the Police Department’s front desk is 217-351-4545.

Who is responsible for plowing the State roads?

The State of Illinois Department of Transportation is responsible for maintenance of State roadways, including snow removal. State roads are identified on the “Primary Snow Routes Map” on the Snow and Ice Maps page.

Why does it take longer to plow cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets?

The prioritization for snow clearing is set to provide safe travel for as many people as possible as quickly as possible. By starting with major routes and then through residential streets, the biggest impact is possible. Cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets usually have lower traffic volumes, and are therefore cleared after higher traveled roadways.

Also, because of their configuration, cul-de-sacs and dead-ends cannot be plowed using the more conventional truck-plowing units used on other City streets. Since there are fewer of these units than the large truck plows, short delays in plowing these special areas sometimes occur.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Questions regarding snow and ice removal can be directed to the Public Works Operations Division at 217-403-4700.

Who do I contact if the City’s snow removal activities have damaged my property, car, or mailbox?

Report any damage as soon as possible to the Public Works Department Operations Division at 217-403-4700. Please be prepared to provide the following information: Your name, address, phone number, and a description of the damage.

Note: Most people think it is the snowplow that actually hits the mailbox. Although this happens occasionally, the snow that is thrown by the plow is usually the cause of mailbox damage. The wetter and heavier the snow, the greater the potential for damage to mailboxes when snowplowing occurs. Residents can help to avoid this by making sure the mailbox poles or supports are in good condition.