Winter Operations for the Department of Public Works includes routine maintenance and repairs along with snow clean up.
The Department receives numerous calls each year regarding snow cleanup, snow emergency declarations and how things operate. Many of those questions can be found below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a Snow Emergency Declaration Mean?
- The Commissioner of the Department of Public Works will declare a snow emergency for snow events typically four (4) inches or greater. A snow emergency is based on an assessment of forecasted weather and local observations including temperature, wind, and road conditions.
- The snow emergency declaration prohibits parking on public roads for the duration of the snow emergency. The typical parking ban is 24 hours. Residents and business owners who do not remove their vehicles from the road during a declared snow emergency will be subject to ticketing and potential towing.
- Residents are asked to do their part and ensure that roads are kept clear so that crews can respond to the winter event. Anyone with fire hydrants on their properties are asked to shovel around them to keep them clear and visible.
- If possible, please avoid travelling on road if possible during the winter event. If travelling is necessary, please be safe.
I just cleared my driveway and the plow just went by and filled the end of my driveway in with heavy snow. Will the Town come back and clear it out?
- The Town cannot come back to your driveway to clear it out as they are actively working to clear the entire Town. What happens, is the “wing” blade on the plow will push the snow into open areas when the plows pass. Unfortunately, if you cleared your driveway, this has created the perfect open space for this.
- When cleaning the snow, we realize most people can’t wait for the storm to be over to clean their driveway. To help prevent the snow you just cleared from the end of your driveway being pushed back into your driveway, push the snow to the left end of the driveway. Our plows plow from right to left so piles at the beginning of the driveway will be pushed along the front as they pass your driveway.
I need to clean my driveway, where can I put the snow?
Article 1219 of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law prohibits plowing, shoveling or blowing snow into a street or highway. This law also covers other items likely to pose a hazard to motorists, including glass, nails, lawn clippings, etc. This law also stipulates that anyone that puts any material, such as snow, into the roadway they shall immediately remove it. If you are a homeowner and you hire a contractor to plow your driveway and you permit them to plow the snow into the road, you could be cited under this law.
Does the Town use salt on the road?
- Yes, the Town uses salt on the roads throughout Town.
If the Town uses salt why isn’t the snow on my street melting?
- The Town uses salt on the roads because it is one of the most cost effective methods for helping clear the roads. Salt is used because it helps lower the freezing point of water, which prevents ice from forming. The usual freezing point of water is 32 degrees, the use of salt creates a freezing point depression which will lower the freezing point to about 20 degrees. However, salt can become less effective once the temperature falls below 15 degrees.
- There are other factors which help the salt work more efficiently too. Typically you might notice that higher traffic streets (commonly referred to as primary roads) appear cleaner than other roads. This is typically due to the amount of traffic that is traveling these roads. Friction from tires can help activate the salt by breaking down and heating it.
When is the plow getting to my street?
- The Town of East Greenbush’s road network is vast geographically, making it challenging for winter operations. The Town is broken up into eight (8) plow zones. Most of the zones are broken down by neighborhood and geographical area of Town. Conditions within one neighborhood can vary drastically to another neighborhood as well.
- During an active snow event, it can take many hours to attend to all the roads in Town, so we ask for your patience and understanding – especially during storms with high winds and accumulation.
- Please know that we are out there, maintaining the roads as best as we can.
- Typically, each route will be plowed around three (3) times during the course of a shift to try to get the most snow cleaned up during the shift.
We had a massive storm, and there is still snow on the roads, why are there no trucks out?
- When a large storm hits, we have all trucks and licensed/trained drivers out on routes clearing snow. After a certain amount of hours, we need to send the crews home to get some much-needed and well-deserved sleep. The crews will be back out early the following morning to continue to clear the roads.
The snow is melting, and there are large puddles of water on the road. When is the Town going to deal with this?
- If large puddles form from the snow melting, the catch basin may be blocked. We will do our best to come around and clean blocked basins, but we always appreciate a helping hand when residents assist with clearing debris from the catch basins.
The snowplow driver hit my mailbox, what should I do?
- As a courtesy to Town residents, the Town will replace the mailbox if it is damaged during a storm. We ask that you please contact the Department of Public Works. A temporary mailbox will be provided if staff cannot replace it right away, for instance, during a snowstorm, or if a completely new post needs to be installed. A permanent replacement will be scheduled in early spring.
- Please note: unfortunately, the Town does not replace custom mailboxes with the same, but will replace the damaged one with a new metal rural-type mailbox.
- To report your damaged mailbox, please call the Department of Public Works at 518-477-7296.
Who is responsible for making sure hydrants are clear?
- Residents that have a hydrant on their property should help clear the snow away from hydrants to ensure safety for you and your neighbors in the event of an emergency.
When will the sidewalks be cleared?
- The Town is responsible for the following sidewalks: 9&20 from Hays Road to Discovery Drive and Luther Road to Couse Corners. All other sidewalks are the responsibility of the property or business owner.
- Once the Town crews have completed the street cleanup, they will begin cleaning up the sidewalks.
- We would like to ask business and property owners along 9&20 and Luther Road to refrain from plowing snow onto the sidewalks during their cleanup efforts. This will help our crews be able to push through snow quickly, and will prevent extra snow from being pushed back onto your property.
Will the Town clear the trail?
- Currently, the Town does not plow the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail. Our maintenance agreement is to make sure that we are mowing down any brush throughout the months of April through October. Our Parks team does a great job of keeping the trail clean during this time.
How will I know if a Snow Emergency has been declared?
- The Commissioner of Public Works will declare a Snow Emergency based off of the forecast or current conditions. Typically, this will be sent ahead of the storm to give residents adequate time to prepare and move their vehicles off of the roadways.
- The Snow Emergency declaration is sent to the Town’s Emergency Communications Center (Dispatch) who then forwards it out to local media outlets. In addition, the Declaration will be posted to the Town’s website, the Town’s Facebook page and a Nixle alert will be sent.
- If you are not currently receiving the Town’s Nixle alerts, you can sign up for them here: Sign Up for East Greenbush Nixle Alerts. The Nixle alerts are text or email messages sent out regarding snow emergencies, water breaks, and other important announcements from the Town.
How long does a Snow Emergency last?
- The snow emergency declaration will include the time frame of the parking ban. Typically the declaration will last 24-72 hours. The time will be determined by the forecast and conditions. Each ban could be extended if the storm lasts longer than originally forecasted, or if the conditions are more difficult to clean up (ice, drifts, and obstructions along the route, etc.).
- The parking ban helps our crews’ clean streets efficiently and ensures residents safety. We ask that all residents try to comply with parking restrictions.
Who do I call if I have questions or concerns during a snow event?
- All questions and/or concerns can be directed to the Department of Public Works by calling 518-477-7296 Monday through Friday 7AM – 3PM.
- After hours emergencies should call the Emergency Communications Center at 518-479-1212.