During the winter weather season, keeping Township roads safe and free of snow and ice is the primary responsibility of the Forks Township Public Works Department.
Hazardous road conditions may result from a great variety of precipitation or weather events. These events include:
- Freezing rain
- Black ice
Within these categories there are additional varieties of effects.
Our mission is to keep streets as passable as possible during the storm and to clear the streets, curb to curb, within 4 hours after the storm has ended.
However, at times the Public Works Department faces tricky circumstances or operational setbacks that hinder or neutralize our efforts. Even with the best of intentions or sense of completion, spots may be missed or experience delayed attention. We apologize for any such instances.
In any case, motorists are advised to always account for the conditions when driving during the winter season. During winter weather events, residents should expect difficult travel and adjust accordingly, staying off the roads when possible or making provisions in whatever ways necessary if travel is essential.
Equipment & Work Area
The Fork Township Public Works Department currently has 9 plow and salting districts, each is assigned a dump truck with spreader. Most Forks Township plow trucks are yellow; few are maroon and green. Crews start plowing when the accumulation reaches two inches.
Forks Township has approximately 60 miles of road, so each plow truck driver is responsible for nearly 8 lane-miles of roadway (provided all trucks are up and operating). There is a general protocol the drivers follow in plowing or treating their assigned route. The main (arterial and collector) roads are cleared first, and then the minor (residential) roads. This provides for maximum attention on the areas of higher and faster traffic. This also ensures the most efficient, organized approach to plowing.
Responding to winter weather events requires mobilizing a suitable amount of resources to meet the actual need. If available indicators (e.g., conditions to the west, radar projections) clearly show an oncoming and imminent need, forces would be mobilized in anticipation of deteriorating conditions. Even in these circumstances, the time to mobilize usually results in a delay in treatment of the roads, so some road condition problems may develop.
In the absence of clear indicators, or during off-duty periods, the town follows a protocol that initiates action at the earliest sign of deteriorating road conditions.
- On-duty Police Officers provide around-the-clock patrol coverage and notify the Northampton County Communications Center when conditions generally or at a particular location need treatment.
- The Communication Center notifies cognizant Public Works personnel who report to the Public Works Garage along with calling in the necessary number of crew members for the circumstances.
Again, this process takes time and will result in some delay in the start of snow or ice removal efforts.
Snow & Ice Treatment
The approach to snow and ice treatment depends on the nature of the event.
- Sometimes the entire crew is mobilized and sometimes only one truck.
- Sometimes plowing and salting is required and sometimes only salting.
- The duration of the Public Works effort depends on the type of event.
If plowing is required, snow must be plowed back to the curbline. This is necessary to ensure proper road drainage and in consideration for future storms requiring plowing. It should take each truck approximately two to four hours to pass through the route once, if snowfall is light and stops shortly after plowing begins.
During a heavy, sustained storm, the driver will make several passes to keep roads passable and it typically takes about four hours after snow has ended to complete plowing efforts.
Forks Township Public Works employees are dedicated to providing residents the best snow and ice removal services they can with the manpower and equipment resources available. These individuals restrict their vacation plans during for the entire winter weather season to place themselves in an available status. During winter operations, these individuals tackle storm events that persist 24 hours and beyond. And when they are released after an event, they are typically greeted at home by their own personal snow removal needs.
More information on snow and ice removal operations, procedures and impacts is provided in this section in the form of answers to frequently asked questions or concerns from residents. Usually, there is a reasonable answer or explanation for such legitimate questions and concerns.
View our Salting and Plowing Districts Map (PDF).