Frequently Asked Questions

Q. My street has not been plowed yet but the next street over has. When is the City going to plow my street?

A. The City follows a specific protocol when plowing snow and ice. Streets with a very high traffic volume or streets that are considered emergency routes are generally plowed first. These are the "Primary Routes". When all of these routes have been plowed, crews then tackle the remaining streets, the "Secondary Routes". The order in which they are cleared depends on the driver and what he/she considers to be the most efficient course to follow.

If you live on a cul-de-sac or dead end, your street will likely be cleared by a pickup plow. Small streets are difficult for the dump trucks to maneuver, so pickups and bobcats are used. Regardless, the pavement will still receive the same treatment as other city streets.

Most importantly, be patient! Clearing snow and ice is a 24 hour operation. Crews work in 12 hour shifts and do their best to get to each street as quickly and SAFELY as possible.

Q. When the plows went by, they filled my driveway with snow. Is the City going to clear my driveway?

A. While the City understands how frustrating it is for the property owner to find snow/ice piled in their driveway, our main objective is to clear the streets. The City cannot and does not clear private driveways for any reason. To do this would be logistically impossible. There are innumerable private drives and simply not enough resources, either equipment or manpower, to handle such a task.

Please visit the "Removal Services" portion of this website for companies that provide such services to property owners. And keep in mind that it normally takes at LEAST 24 hours after the snow has stopped for the crews to completely clear the streets, so the longer you wait to clear your driveway, the less likelihood that it will have to be done again.

Q. Will the City clear the sidewalk in front of my house?

A. The same set of rules that govern the clearing of private drives also apply to sidewalks. There are over 70 miles of sidewalks and bikepaths in the city limits. Typically it is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner or business to ensure that the sidewalk is cleared of snow and ice. The City simply does not have the resources.

Please visit the "Removal Services" portion of this website for companies that provide such services to property owners.

Q. Why is the City using sand and sawdust on the streets?

A. The decision to use a sand/sawdust/salt mix with beet juice additive was twofold; cost efficiency and environmental stewardship.

A single ton of salt currently costs almost $80 and is subject to availability. During a particularly rough winter, salt companies supply communities statewide and have been known to deplete their stockpiles, at which point availability decreases and price increases. Though the City stockpiles salt at the beginning of each winter, there is no way to truly know how much will be needed. By augmenting the salt with sand and sawdust, the cost per ton drops to roughly $32. Both sand and sawdust are locally available and the cost for beet juice is negligible.

This mixture is also more environmentally friendly than the typical salt/calcium chloride mix. Beet juice, sand and sawdust are all natural ingredients that cause less impact to local streams and decreased damage to infrastructure.

Q. Why does the City use beet juice in it's Anti-Icing Material (AIM)?

A. Beet juice is a liquid organic concentrate developed from sugar beets during the sugar making process. It is a renewable resource that is non-corrosive, environmentally sensitive and can reduce salt application rates by up to 30%. It is completely water soluble, lowers the freezing point to -30 degrees Fahrenheit, can be used for pretreatment, anti-icing, and deicing and can be applied to salt stockpiles to prevent hardening over summer months.

Q. Why doesn't the City use cinders anymore?

A. The City has discontinued the use of cinders. Aside from the unsightly residue that is left on streets and vehicles, both during and after a snowstorm, cinders are only mildly effective. The Anti-Icing Material (AIM) currently in use by the City is more effective at lowering the freezing point of ice and snow, can be used for pretreatment, and is more widely available.

Q. There has been a lot of press on Calcium Chloride lately. Does the City use it?

A. The City of Rolla has discontinued the use of calcium chloride in it's AIM. The product has been found to be highly corrosive, eventually destroying the integrity of both metal and concrete. It is also detrimental to certain plants and animals and has an adverse effect on streams.

Q. There's an intersection (hill, curve, etc.) on my street that is very slick. Can the City do something?

A. The City makes every effort possible to ensure the streets are as safe as practicable during and after a winter weather event. If you find there are particular "trouble spots", such as intersections, hills and curves, contact the City of Rolla Public Works Department at (573) 364-8659. Crews will make every effort to treat the location as soon as possible.