The Bureau of Highways is dedicated to ensuring the safety of the traveling public while providing timely service to citizen and business communities during inclement weather by planning and executing winter operation activities on more than 6,700 county-maintained roads and streets.
Getting Ready Early
The dedicated staff of the Bureau of Highways is busy preparing for winter snow and ice control activities long before the first hint of snowfall. During the summer months, the bureau first evaluates its fleet and staffing needs for the upcoming season. The fleet of vehicles and equipment are then serviced and maintained to meet the demands of the winter season.
Snow and ice removal activities and operations expenses are reviewed each year. One cost-control effort employed by the bureau is the use private contractors. The process of securing snow removal contractors begins in July. Similar to the county fleet, contractor equipment is inspected and prepared for winter service.
Spreading the Word
Snow removal information is also developed and prepared in the fall. During the spring months, a thorough review of the previous year’s snow removal outreach activities is conducted. Necessary changes are documented for implementation in the upcoming snow season.
Anne Arundel County uses covered storage facilities for its road salt and stores a total of approximately 13,000 tons of salt at the following locations: Dover Road (Glen Burnie), Mountain Road (Pasadena), Crownsville Road (Annapolis), Broadneck Road (St. Margaret’s), Duckins Street (Odenton), West Central Avenue (Davidsonville), and at a storage yard in Friendship, Maryland. At the present time, a growing portion of Anne Arundel County’s fleet is also equipped with liquid calcium chloride pre-wetting equipment. Pre- wetting dry salt during its application helps the salt to adhere to the roadway. In contrast, dry salt can “bounce” and blow off the roadway and be less effective.
Environmentally Responsible De-Icing
De-icing materials are an effective tool for maintaining safe winter road conditions. However, the county is aware that excessive use can have negative impacts on the environment. Heavy use of road salts has been assessed to cause damage to vegetation, organisms in soil, birds and to other wildlife. Chloride ions from road salts find their way eventually into waterways, whether by direct runoff into surface water or by moving through the soil and groundwater. In surface water, road salts can harm freshwater plants, fish and other organisms that are not adapted to living in saline waters. The Bureau of Highways strives to apply only as much salt as necessary to achieve safe driving conditions.
How Can You Help?
Call 911 for a bona fide emergency such as a need for police, fire or ambulance service. For scheduled health related medical attention (dialysis, oxygen, etc.), call the Office of Emergency Management at 410-222-0600. This office also provides transportation of essential medical personnel.
Please be patient. The county prioritizes plowing operations to get citizens moving as quickly as possible. Crews start with main and collector roads, problem intersections, and steep hills and severe curves in communities. They then continue on to the remaining residential streets.
Park your vehicles in your driveway if at all possible. On-street parking is one of the biggest challenges snowplow drivers face. If snowplow drivers feel they cannot safely access your street, no service will be provided. If off-street parking is not available, it is strongly recommended that you park your vehicles on one side of the road to ensure accessibility for the snowplow drivers. This is especially important on hills, dead-ends and cul-de-sacs.
Clear your sidewalk of any snow accumulation. Snow removal on sidewalks, driveways and entrances is the responsibility of the homeowner. In many instances, these sidewalks are used by children as school walking routes. Your neighbors will thank you.
Caution your children to stay clear of snow removal equipment.
Know that Anne Arundel County only plows county-owned roads and does not have a program for plowing state roads, private roads or parking areas in private communities. Any road with a route number is the responsibility of the State Highway Administration, which can be contacted at 410-841-1002.
Volunteer for the Snow Patrol to assist the elderly and disabled citizens of Anne Arundel County by contacting the Volunteer Center for Anne Arundel at 410-897-9207. For more information about the Snow Patrol, visit www.aacvc.org.
Make sure trash and recycling containers are visible.
Don't leave your empty trash can, recycling bins or other obstacles in the street.
Don't place snow from sidewalks or driveways in the street. Placing snow in the street could contribute to a greater amount of snow being pushed toward your property as the plow passes by.