City’s Inclement Weather Procedures
The development and implementation of the City of Dahlonega’s severe weather plan has ensured less adverse effects by the recent unusually cold temperatures. Severe weather may impact a localized area, or as in the case of ice, be widespread. City Engineer, Ricky Stewart, says, “When ice is forecasted, we go ahead and prep the vehicles for the distribution of salt/gravel and for plowing.” These precautions allow the on call staff to simply load the truck and begin working if necessary. All of the City’s street construction, street maintenance and sanitation employees are trained on the weather equipment. For unpredictable weather conditions and emergencies, there are always at least three Public Works Department employees on call. 911 dispatchers contact these employees at the point when ice has been seen; no matter what time of day or night the bad weather hits the community.
Once a crew is called, road maintenance is prioritized. The crew address problems accessing the hospital, bridges within the city limits, primary roads owned by the city, and higher elevation roads. Beyond these priorities the city will then begin working in neighborhoods and shoveling sidewalks around town.
The salt/gravel mixture used to lower the freeze point on roads clumps easily with moisture and humidity. Therefore, only between 10 and 15 tons are ordered once every two years. When possible, the mixture is spread around town before any precipitation. Ricky Stewart says, “The mixture can be put on top of frozen ground, but it works better as a preventative measure.”
With the City’s Public Works Department working day and night, the established action plan lessens the threat to public safety, health, the environment, property and the economy. Even when City Hall is closed, the Public Works Department is always working to ensure the safety and well-being of Dahlonega residents.
Photo: City of Dahlonega Street Construction crew members, Ron Simmons & Vince Hunsinger.