(Reno, NV--KRNV) The snow may be gone from northern Nevada for now, but bitter temperatures remain. Many residents are noticing the wintry weather as soon as they leave their driveway because many residential streets did not see a snow plow.
Marnell Heinz, Maintenance and Operations Manager with the City of Reno said, "We have 2,244 lane miles of roadway and with the limited resourcesand the equipment we have, it's virtually impossible to cover each and every street."
Heinz explains "Snow Removal Plans" prioritize which roads are cleared first. He said, "After we do the primary first and second streets, which are the arterial and collector roadways, we'd be more than happy to 'fall back' on the other roadways."
Unfortunately, the bitter temperatures have made snow removal more challenging. Heinz said, "The problem with such cold temperatures is that by the time traffic gets on it, it becomes slick and compacted and it makes it very hard to remove after the fact."
Now that snow and ice are on residential streets, Heinz says adding salt at these temperatures doesn't help, "Once we get the melting effect, then we go back into freezing temperatures and we're actually creating more of a hazard than we're correcting," he said. Sand isn't any better, "The more abrasives we put down, the more problematic it becomes with air quality. We're trying to balance that with a happy medium."
If you looked outside today you could see the challenge. The Wood Burning Code was Red meaning the air quality is so bad, wood burning is prohibited. While wood burning helps to create our air pollution problems, the sand for snow removal makes things worse.
Daniel Inouye, Branch Chief of the Air Quality Management Division with the Washoe County Health Department, said, "What we have on the road crumbles up and becomes a more finer particulate. It re-enters the atmosphere and that contributes to our fine particulate matter."
Northern Nevada has been experiencing a temperature inversion which is common in the winter months. Inouye said, "What that does is trap the air pollution down into the Truckee Meadows and concentrates the pollution." He adds, "So all the emissions from the wood burning and from our roads contributes to our air pollution problem."
Still, road crews in the cities of Reno and Sparks are removing snow and ice from area roadways. If you have a residential street that needs snow or ice removal, you may call Reno Direct at 775-334-INFO (4636) or in Sparks the Customer Service Hotline at 775-353-5555.