Snow and Ice Manual

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Public Works - Highway Division

Snow and Ice Control Policy - Mission Statement

The purpose of this policy is to define and outline snow and ice control objectives and procedures as established by Lower Merion Township. This policy supersedes all previously written documents or unwritten policies of Lower Merion Township regarding snow and ice control.


The intent of establishing the Lower Merion Snow and Ice Control Policy is to provide a uniform understanding of the priorities used to combat snow and ice related road conditions. Each winter storm has unique characteristics. Climatological factors such as storm intensity and duration, wind, and temperature and moisture content affect the total amount of snow/ice accumulation and influence the methodology used to combat the resulting snow and/or ice related conditions.

The Public Works Department endeavors to maintain adequate traction for vehicles properly equipped for winter driving conditions. This does not mean bare, dry pavement should be expected after each snowfall. Furthermore, this does not mean the streets will be free of ice and snow.

The aim of snow and ice control operations is to return street surfaces to normal winter conditions as soon as feasible within the limitations of the policy and our limited resources. The desired results can usually be attained by the proper use of storm forecasts, personnel, equipment, and materials. However, flexibility is needed to adapt to the variety of circumstances and conditions during a snow or ice storm.

The streets in Lower Merion Township are owned and maintained by three separate entities. There are Township owned streets which are maintained by the Lower Merion Public Works Department; there are state owned streets which, through a contract between PennDot and Lower Merion Township, winter maintenance is the responsibility of the Township’s Public Works Department; and finally, there are private roads which are owned and maintained by the abutting property owners, or, by way of a winter maintenance agreement, are maintained by Lower Merion Township’s Public Works Department.

This policy will apply only to those streets within the jurisdiction of Lower Merion Township’s Department of Public Works.

During snow/ice conditions, calls from the Police and Fire Departments regarding accidents, medical or other emergency situations are given top priority. The Public Works Department does not respond to unverified “emergency” requests from the public. Their requests are referred to the department best equipped to verify and respond to the emergency. Upon request of the appropriate agency, the Public Works Department will provide assistance as necessary.

Because of the high priority assigned to snow and ice control, almost all other Public Works operations become secondary to snow fighting operations. All personnel normally assigned to street maintenance will be assigned to the snow fighting operation. Parks, Refuse, Shade Tree, Waste Water, Street Light and Parking Meter employees will provide supplemental manpower, as needed, to assist the Highway Department.

Attached to this policy as an addendum and incorporated into the policy is the Public Works Department’s Snow and Ice Control Operations Manual. The purpose of the manual is to describe the actual operational procedure for the Public Works Department as set forth by the above policy/mission statement regarding snow and ice control operations.


The purpose of this Snow and Ice Control Manual is to assist the Public Works Department and Police Department Employees by establishing some written guidelines for their assigned duties during winter storms. Additionally, the manual will provide a standard of operating procedure for the Public Works Department as a foundation of policy for public information and all other persons interested in the Township’s winter storm procedures. The manual should provide a reference for all employees engaged in snow removal operations and includes?specific instructions for plowing routes, salt application procedures, working restrictions during snow storms, towing policies, snow removal in the municipal parking lots, shoveling and salting of sidewalks under the juris- diction of the Township, and a listing of Ordinances and special regulations pertaining to snow and ice control.

The manual contains eight sections:

  1. Implementation

    1.1 Winter Storm Warning Service
    1.2 Standby Crews
    1.3 Call Out Procedure
    1.4 Telephone Procedure

  2. Policy and Operating Procedures
    2.1 Background
    2.2 Shift Policy
    2.3 Overtime Policy
    2.4 Meal Policy
    2.5 Towing Policy

  3. Snow Control Procedures
    3.1 Storm Conditions
    3.2 Salt Application
    3.3 Anti-skid Application
    3.4 Calcium Chloride Application
    3.5 Plowing
    3.6 Municipal Parking Lots
    3.7 Sidewalks
    3.8 Parking Restrictions

  4. Hired Equipment

  5. Routes and Priorities

    Priority I Roads
    Priority II Roads

  6. Snow Emergency Routes

  7. Ordinances Pertaining to Snow Removal

  8. Private Roads Under Snow Agreement

    Exhibit A. Petition and Agreement for Private Snow Removal
    Exhibit B. Private Roads Under Snow Agreement
    Exhibit C. Sidewalks Maintained by the Township