Snow Plowing Questions & Answers

The Public Works Department receives a variety of information requests from residents throughout the year, especially during winter when snow falls.  Below are our most frequently asked questions with answers.

How many miles of roads is Public Works responsible for plowing?

The Village is responsible for 167 center lane miles of snow and ice control.

How are those miles divided up to plow?

The 167 miles are divided into 11 sections with two trucks typically assigned to each section or route in a plowing event.  Public Works is also responsible for plowing the commuter, Fire Station, Police Headquarters, and Village Hall parking lots.

Why are two trucks assigned to a route?

Plowing in tandem allows us to clear street pavement from center line to curb in one pass.

Why don’t the plows clear the whole street at once?

Drivers make a preliminary pass during a storm to open up the streets.  Final curb-to-curb clearing occurs after it stops snowing.

How long does it take to plow a route?

Depending on the type and amount of snowfall, it can take approximately 7 hours to clear 15 miles of streets.  A typical route is 15 miles.

Are the same drivers assigned to the same route each time they plow or salt?

Yes.  There are two drivers assigned to each route for a plowing operation and one driver for a salting operation.

For some storms, plows are out for most of the day and night.  Is the same driver out there that whole time?

No.  The department has two fully staffed crews—front line snow plow drivers and back-up drivers, which include part-time seasonal drivers hired each year.

Where do drivers start plowing?

Major streets are plowed first, such as Northwest Highway, Palatine Road, and Hicks Road, followed by secondary and residential streets, including cul-de-sacs.

Are there roads Palatine does not plow?

Yes, IDOT and Cook County are responsible for Quentin, Roselle, Rand, Dundee, and Algonquin Roads, Euclid Avenue, Route 53, and Hicks Road north of Dundee Road.

Some sidewalks are cleared but not all – why is that?

The Village Council designated certain sidewalks to be cleared when there is over 3 inches of snowfall.  These sidewalks are the main routes to schools or on higher volume roads to help keep school children and other pedestrians safe from walking in the streets.

Are residents required to shovel the public sidewalk adjacent to their property?

No.  However, the Village encourages all residents to clear their sidewalks for the safety of pedestrians and children walking to school.

If residents choose to shovel the public sidewalk adjacent to their property, where can they put the snow?

Place the snow on the parkway or front yard in a manner to avoid injury or limited access to any person, animal, or property.

Can a resident put snow on a public sidewalk or street?

No.  This includes the portion of the sidewalk that crosses over a driveway apron.  Village ordinances prohibit plowing, blowing, or shoveling of snow into the street, on the public sidewalk, or on a parkway across from your property.  This action can create a hazardous condition for both motorists and pedestrians.

If a resident hires a snow plow contractor, who is responsible for notifying that contractor of the Village ordinances?

The property owner is responsible for the actions of their contractor.  Non-owners of property should forward this information to the party responsible for conducting the snow plowing and snow removal operations.

The snow plow driver hit my mailbox.  How do I get mail now?

It is very difficult, especially on cul-de-sacs, to completely clear the snow without risking damage to mailboxes or posts.  If your curbside mailbox or parkway is damaged by a Village snow plow, call the Public Works Department and the Village will either repair the box and/or post or bring out a temporary mailbox so residents can receive mail delivery.  Keep in mind, the Village is not responsible for mailboxes damaged during snow plowing if the boxes do not meet Village code.

Why does the snow plow driver always seem to fill my driveway with snow after I have cleared away the snow?

It’s not done intentionally.  The goal is to have safe roads for residents and other motorists traveling within the Village.  Sometimes it is necessary to plow and/or salt after residents have cleared driveways.


For more information or any other questions, please feel free to call Public Works at (847) 705-5200.