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As the ends of cul-de-sacs or “bulbs” are very low speed and very low volume, the target condition for snow removal is to be “passable” and not snow-free. It has been the long-standing policy of the DPW to only plow these bulbs when they accumulate more than 3”, which is a standard benchmark in the field of municipal snow plowing. With approximately 200 of these across town and within Zionsville’s jurisdiction, it takes a minimum of 60 man-hours to clear them all, which is almost as much time as it takes to fully plow the 112 miles of Zionsville’s roadway responsibilities. The clearing of cul-de-sac bulbs can be destructive on both equipment and property. Trucks clearing cul-de-sac bulbs must constantly shift from forward to reverse and back repeatedly, which is very hard on transmissions and shortens the life of the equipment. Since the snow is cleared in a circular, or radiant manner by pushing snow from the center of the bulb to and around the edges, it often results in damage to yards when the plows ride up and over the curbs and dig into the turf or landscaping, which must then be repaired in the spring. For this reason, there are as many residents who ask the Town of Zionsville NOT to clear their bulbs as there are those who request it. In many cases, when homes are densely placed around a bulb, there is no room to place snow in a location that doesn’t block mailboxes or driveways. In these situations, snow must be pulled to the center of the bulb into a mound, and often must be hauled away if significant additional snow is in the forecast. This task can add up to 30 more man-hours to load and haul snow to a disposal site. For the above reasons, the Town will take universal and equitable actions only to keep cul-de-sac bulbs passable, and not snow-free. Whenever the school or post office makes us aware of any difficulties they encounter due to winter weather, DPW will take the necessary actions to correct the condition and ensure passable conditions.
Keeping the streets free of parked cars is extremely beneficial. Additionally, do not throw snow cleared from sidewalks and driveways into the street. This is too concentrated for the salt to work effectively and these areas will tend to refreeze quickly creating icy spots on the roads. Also, whenever practical locate trash cans a few extra feet from the street to avoid disturbance caused by snow being cast from the plows.
Please contact the Zionsville Street Department with any specific questions. Public safety is our primary goal, and we ask that during the snowy winter season, everyone understand that there are certain inherent problems associated with snow removal beyond the plain nuisance of it all.