Plow-tracking website goes live in Naperville
If forecasters are correct and Mother Nature unleashes her fury on Naperville Thursday, residents will be able to track city plows and better plan for when streets will be safe.
Following a test run during leaf collection, city officials say they are excited to activate an online interactive map to show residents which streets have been plowed and where trucks are during storms with more than two inches of accumulation.
Christine Schwartzhoff, operations team leader in the public works department, said the map is in response to feedback the city received following last February's blizzard.
"I'm excited to activate the site and we hope it ends up being a good communication tool and helps residents understand how we work," she said. "One of the things we learned from Blizzard of 2011 is that we need to communicate better with our residents. A lot of people just want to know what to expect and as long as they have that information, most are satisfied."
When residents open the map, they can type in their address and see, in real time, where crews are working and whether they are plowing, salting or finishing the job.
When the snow falls, she said the first priorities for plowing will be arterial streets such as Naper Boulevard and Washington Street followed by collector streets like Bailey and Hobson roads. Once those are cleared, crews will shift their attention to residential streets and cul-de-sacs.
"The priority goes to the roads where we have the most traffic and the most high-speed traffic," Schwartzhoff said.
As of Wednesday evening, the city's plan was to have as many as 25 plows on the streets during the storm's early stages and increase to as many as 50 throughout the day.
"We anticipate the worst part of this storm will be the drifting that accompanies the high winds," she said. "But we're ready for it. Everyone is on call, we have plenty of salt on hand and our trucks are in great shape."
Crews will salt the roads when less than an inch of snow is forecast and plow once two inches have fallen. The city aims to clear all streets 12 to 14 hours after the snow stops.
Schwartzhoff said residents can help by moving cars off the road so plows can get through.
The plow-tracker is available at http://gis.naperville.il.us/mashups/snowroutes/ and city officials are seeking feedback from residents who use the site.