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Snow emergency determination pending

The Streets Division will plow all City of Madison streets today, January 19. Streets Division staff will assess the road conditions and make a determination later today if a snow emergency declaration is necessary.

The Streets Division crews along with heavy equipment contractors began plowing all city streets at 6:00am. All Madison streets should have their initial plowing within 14 to 16 hours after the citywide operation commences. After the initial plowing, crews will be in during the overnight hours in order to plow for alternate side parking.

Streets Division requests that all Madison residents remove vehicles and trailers from the street if possible. And those visiting downtown Madison are encouraged to use the parking ramps. Fewer obstacles in the road means plowing operations will be safer, faster, and more complete.

Parking and Plowing Information
Residents within the Snow Emergency Zone and throughout Madison are still encouraged to remove their vehicles from the street during the day today. Electing to use a parking ramp when downtown, or utilizing other off-street parking options will speed up plowing operations as crews work to push snow from the roads and parking lanes.

When plow trucks maneuver around vehicles and other obstructions in the road, three car lengths of space along the curb are left unplowed.

Streets Division staff will assess the road conditions and make a determination if a snow emergency declaration is necessary later today.

As a reminder, if a snow emergency is declared, this would mean that alternate side parking restrictions must be followed throughout the entire city, including the Snow Emergency Zone.

The Snow Emergency Zone is located on the isthmus between S. Park Street and the Yahara River, plus the Greenbush and Vilas neighborhoods. Alternate side parking restrictions are enforced in the areas outside of the snow emergency zone from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m.  Please note that vehicles violating alternate side parking rules may be ticketed and towed.

Additional Information on Road Conditions and Plowing Operations
Those on the roads throughout the day should anticipate encountering slippery road conditions on all city streets as Streets Division crews continue their work.

Crews have been maintaining the main thoroughfares that comprise the salt route network throughout the night. Overnight temperatures dipped below 20 degrees. When temperatures are this cold, salt becomes ineffective at the rate the Streets Division spreads it.  In response to these conditions, during the overnight hours Streets crews stopped using salt and began spreading sand for traction on the salt routes.

Therefore, the main thoroughfares of Madison will still have snow on them and they will remain snow-covered until temperatures warm to the point where salt will be effective again.

All roadways users are reminded to make good choices. Be slow. Be alert. And be patient when on the roads today. Plan for extra travel time in order to arrive to their destinations on time. And anticipate needing extra stopping distance. Slick conditions persist throughout the entire city.

Since the Streets Division will be plowing during the day, it is probable travelers will encounter snowplows working to clear the roads. Be sure to give the operators plenty of space as they work to make the roads safe.

Citywide plowing is a slow process that can take 14 to 16 hours to complete. Roadway users should expect encountering some residential areas that have not yet been plowed as they drive through the city today.

When you are on the roads during plowing operations, it is common to encounter temporary windrows blocking side streets as crews loop through neighborhoods plowing the snow back to the curb. A windrow is the pile of snow that naturally falls off the snowplow blade. As crews loop through the streets, they will push these windrows back to the curb.

Since all Madison streets will be plowed today, residents will find their street plowed and driveway apron blocked with snow. Snow in the driveway apron is a regular occurrence during plowing. Plow trucks follow the curb line, and their plow blades are angled toward the curb as well in order to push snow out of the street. Snow builds on the plow blade as they drive forward since the curb does not allow snow to fall off the blade. Gaps in the curb created by driveway aprons means snow falls off the blade and into the apron gap.

Madison residents can get additional snow plowing information at and addition winter parking information by calling 608-261-9111.