Mayor reviews preparations for upcoming snow season

November 18, 2020

Mayor Greg Fischer, joined by members of the Metro Snow Team and partners from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Louisville Fire and the National Weather Service, today outlined preparations for the upcoming 2020-21 snow season.

And he thanked members of the Louisville Metro Snow Team, who worked today through a mock snow event that included driving all road treatment routes.

“It takes a special kind of team to go out and handle significant winter weather, and I along with everyone in our city are truly thankful for their tireless commitment and service,” said the Mayor. “This team will jump into action any hour, any day, to make it safe for the rest of us to get where we need to go when the weather gets bad.”

The Snow Team is led by Metro Public Works under the leadership of Director Vanessa Burns and Assistant Director for Roads and Operations, Brian Funk. The Public Works Solid Waste Management Division, Metro Parks, the Department of Codes & Regulations, and the Department of Fleet Services are also part of the team.

Louisville will begin the snow season this year with 49,000 tons of salt on hand, which is believed to be the largest cache that Louisville Metro has begun with for any snow season. Most of the salt will be stored underground in the Louisville Mega Cavern on Taylor Avenue, while about 17,500 tons are stored at four above ground locations where the salt will be loaded onto spreading vehicles as needed. Because last winter season was so mild with little snow, the total salt used in the 2019-20 snow season was 4,500 tons.

The city will also continue to pretreat roads with brine ahead of snowfalls when appropriate. Brine is a saltwater solution that reduces the adherence of snow and ice to pavement and reduces slick spots.

City snow routes include arterial and collector roads, bus routes and roads to major employers and emergency facilities for a total of 2,700 two-lane miles. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and private contractors also clear routes in the city.

“During a snow event, our crews cover nearly 600 lane miles of roadway in Jefferson County and work to ensure interstates are clear and safe for travel,” said KYTC District 5 Chief District Engineer Matt Bullock. “Our snow fighters are prepared and ready to respond anytime winter weather impacts our area.”

The Louisville Fire Department understands the crucial role the Metro Snow Team plays as they respond to emergencies.

“Early response is critical when responding to any emergency incident. The work of the Snow Team allows us to arrive on scene safely and quickly to preserve property and save lives during snow events. We couldn’t do it without their support,” said Major Bobby Cooper, Louisville Fire Department.

When it comes to helping residents combat winter fires and indoor home safety, he added, “It’s important for the community to play a key role in keeping their home, families and neighbors safe. Simple safety precautions like maintaining home heating equipment, using space heaters and generators with caution, and replacing batteries in smoke alarms can help ensure a warm and safe winter.”  

The city’s snow removal progress can be followed via an interactive online map. During snow events, a snow map will be posted on the city website, www.louisvilleky.gov, and the Department of Public Works site at www.louisvilleky.gov/publicworks.