CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Wondering how the City of Charlotte figures out the order in which roads get salted, brined, plowed and scraped during a snowstorm? Here’s the document that shows truck drivers where to go first, and which streets might have to wait.
The 40-page document lays out how the city is supposed to treat roads before a snow or ice storm, and the order in which roads will be cleared afterward. The plan says in all but the worst cases, most streets are supposed to be clear no more than two days after a storm.
Many of Charlotte’s streets aren’t even the city’s responsibility. The North Carolina Department of Transportation is in charge of fixing, paving and plowing any numbered routes through the city, like Interstate 77, U.S. Highway 74 and N.C. Highway 51. NCDOT also picks up the maintenance on other roads, which are shown in red below:
It’s up to the Charlotte Department of Transportation to clear the rest, and the document provided is full of maps that show what CDOT’s plan is for your neighborhood, depending on how bad the snow or ice is supposed to be. The first few maps lay out where to lay down brine in an effort to keep wet or snowy streets from getting slick. After that, CDOT classifies events by Condition A, B or C. Condition A is reserved for the mildest events, where the city only takes care of specific problem spots, bridges, culverts and hospital entrances. This week’s snowstorm was classified as Condition B. Condition C? “Oh, that would be a nightmare,” says Linda Durrett, a CDOT spokeswoman. That hasn’t been used since a storm dumped nearly three feet of snow on Charlotte in the late 1980’s. “That truly stopped the city,” she says.
CDOT road crews use the maps to figure out where they should be plowing. Here’s an example of the plan for Uptown Charlotte:
As you can see, Tryon, Church and College Streets are the top priority, followed by Martin Luther King Boulevard, Caldwell and Davidson Streets. Interstate 277, shown in red, is the state’s responsibility.
Durrett says in many cases, CDOT and NCDOT work hand in hand, picking up the slack by plowing extra roads when trucks are busy in other parts of the city. The priorities are guidelines, and CDOT crews won’t lay down salt or brine after a storm if a street is already dry. In addition, if CDOT falls behind in plowing, the city can call in extra contractors to plow streets.
Here’s the entire document (and a direct link to a larger version):