Home : Winter Road Maintenance Policy > Winter Road Policies





Introduction………………………………………   2

Snow and Ice Control…………………………….   3

Snow Removal from  Roads ……………………….4.

Ice Removal…………………………………..……4


Environmental Impacts of Salt………………..……6


Salt-abrasive Mixtures………………………..…….8

Snow Plowing and Ice Priority Roads……….…….9

Snow Plowing Agreements…………………….…10

Circumstances or Exceptions of this Policy………10

Snow Season Parking……………………………..11

Snow Removal from Driveways………………….11

Mailboxes .………………………………………..12


Where to Call for Information and Complaints……12



October 2, 2000

Revised 5/7/07; 2/18/08; 10/19/09; 12/5/11; 11/19/12





The Town of River Falls roads are subject to freezing rain, ice, snow, and snow drifting any time during fall, winter and spring months.  Normally winter storms can be expected during the months of November through April.  The responsibility for keeping vehicular traffic moving on the Town’s nearly 60.71 miles of roads during and following snow and ice storms lies with the Town’s two road maintenance employees under the direction of the Town Chairperson and Supervisors.

The following policy and plan of operation for winter road maintenance has been adopted by the Town Board.



The Town is responsible for maintenance of 60.71 miles of roads. Approximately 30 miles are classified into first priority plowing and sanding roads.  The balance of the roads will be plowed and sanded as time allows.

According to State Statute §81.15 the Town has three (3) weeks to remove natural snow and ice accumulation.  The Town’s goal is to maintain the roads in as good winter driving conditions as weather, equipment, and budgets allows.

Planning and preparing for snow and ice operations is difficult due to the uniqueness of each storm.  No two storms are ever identical.  The interrelationship of factors such as rate of snowfall, moisture content, accumulation, temperature, time of day and wind velocity determines the uniqueness of each storm.  The Town operations must be flexible enough to combat the unique aspect of each storm.

The amount of snow accumulation and time of day at which the storm occurs has a significant affect.  High wind condition may cause roads to quickly fill in again with drifted snow.  The temperature at the time of the storm will also affect conditions.  Snow falling on warm pavement will clear off more easily.  However, a moderate storm, coupled with a prolonged sub-freezing period will greatly increase the removal effort.  Light, dry snows handle more easily than heavy wet snow.

Town personnel utilize area radio stations, TV, Pierce County Highway Department and State DOT forecasts to the extent they are available.

During snow and ice storms town road crews will respond to emergency conditions to the extent practicable.  Road maintenance employees will respond to emergency requests direct from the public at the discretion of the Town Chairperson.  The Town road crews will not plow or sand on private property without authorization from the Town Chairperson.  The Town will not take any responsibility for removal of snow that is plowed into private driveways from the road clearing operation.  Driveway maintenance is the property owners responsibility.

It can be expected that services during off hours will be minimal and only provided when extreme storm conditions arise or on intensely used areas and routes.  The motorist should expect reduced highway mobility (traveling less than posted speed limits) during the winter storm.


Planning for a snow removal operation begins when two (2) inches or more of snow is expected to accumulate.  Each employee will have his priority roads to plow.  The Town Chairperson will establish a plan for this operation.


Due to cost and lack of approved storage buildings, the Town rarely applies straight rock salt to their roadways.  The Town uses an abrasive sand treated with 100 to 200 pounds of salt per cubic yard.  This amount of salt is necessary to keep sand from freezing in the pile and keeping the sand workable.  Sand is applied only at curves, intersections, hills and steep grade hills.  Certain weather conditions may allow additional small amounts of salt in the sand to promote a thawing or clearing of compacted snow or ice.


USES              Anti-Icing    -      Preventing snow/ice from bonding to pavement.

                        Anti-icing     -      Keep snow in plowable condition (slush).

                        De-Icing       -      Break-up ice/packed snow.

                        Melting         -      Melt glare/black ice.

                        Melting         -      Melt snow/ice residue after plowing.


CHARACTERISTICS        -      Requires water to dissolve salt.

                                             -      Requires heat to melt snow and ice.

                                             -       Very sensitive to temperature of snow and ice.

                                             -      Melting takes time.


APPLICATION                  -      Apply only amount required for temperature, time and use

                                             -       Too little will refreeze; too much is a waste.

                                             -      Normal range is 100-300 pounds per lane mile.

                                             -      Eutectic temperature of -6ºF, practical range 15-20ºF rising.

                                             -      Concentrate spread near centerline or high side of pavement and                                                                      at critical locations. Watch for wind action.

                                             -      Apply early and let it work before plowing off.

                                             -      Do not apply if too cold or if dry snow is blowing clear of                                                          pavement.

                                             -      Apply in increments to avoid over salting.


DEVELOPMENTS             -      A gradation of very fine salt is being evaluated for anti-icing.

                                             -      Liquid salt (23% solution) is used to prewet salt and applied                                                      directly to pavements for anti-icing. The liquid salt starts to gel                                             below 10ºF.


SPECIFICATIONS            -      A gradation of fine and coarse is useful to accommodate all                                                       conditions (fine melts fast and coarse penetrates) ASTM                                                       DO632-72, Type 1, Grade1.

                                             -      Must be delivered and stored dry. No visible “free” moisture is                                                  desirable. Less than 2% moisture.


Salt solutions disturb a plants metabolism (water loss) and can create temporary loss of leaves etc., up to plant death. Splash or direct soil saturation can be harmful. New growth may be first affected. Timing may be more important than total amounts reaching the plant. Resistance is lowest during the growing season and highest when dormant. Low branches and young plants are more susceptible.



Low Salt Tolerance                             Moderate Salt Tolerance                 Good Salt Tolerance

Filbert                                                  Birch                                               Mulberry

Compact boxwood                             Aspen                                             Apricot

Sugar maple                                        Cottonwood                                   White oak

Red maple                                           Hard maple                                     Red oak

Lambardy poplar                                 Beech                                              Hawthorne

Speckled alder                                    White spruce                                   Tamarix

Sycamore maple                                  Balsam fir                                       Squaw bush

Larch                                                   Douglas fir                                      Russian olive

Black alder                                          Blue spruce                                     Scotch elm

Italian poplar                                       Texas privet                                    White poplar

European beech                                   Xylosma                                         Osier Willow

Rose                                                    Pyracantha                                      Black locust

Pineapple guave                                  European black current                   Gray poplar

Viburnum                                            Siberian crab                                   Silver poplar

Arctic blue willow                              Boxelder maple                             English oak

Spirea                                                  Japanese honeysuckle                   White acacia

Multiflora rose                                    Eastern red cedar                            Bottlebush

Winged euonymus                              Green ash                                        Oleander

Barberry                                              Ponderosa pine                               Common matrimony vine

Little leaf linden                                 Golden willow

Black walnut                                       Lantona

                                                            Spreading juniper

                                                            Arbor vitae

                                                            Silver buffalo berry


*from Deicing Salt And The Environment, Salt Institute, 1990                               



Sensitive                                              Moderately Tolerant                        Tolerant

White Dutch clover                             White sweet clover                          Alkali sacoton

Meadow foxtail                                  Yellow sweet clover                        Saltgrass

Alsike clover                                       Perennial rye grass                           Nuttall alkali grass

Red clover                                           Mountian brome                               Bermuda grass

Ladino clover                                      Harding grass                                   Tall wheat grass

Burnet                                                 Beardless wild rye                           Rhodas grass

                                                            Strawberry clover                             Rescue grass

                                                            Dallis grass                                       Canada wild rye

                                                            Sudan grass                                      Western wheat grass

                                                            Hubram cover                                  Tall fescue

                                                            Alfalfa                                              Birdsfoot trefoil

                                                            Orchard grass                                     

                                                            Blue grama

                                                            Meadow fescue

                                                            Reed conary

                                                            Big trefoil

                                                            Smooth brome

                                                            Tall meadow oat grass




*from Deicing Salt And The Environment, Salt Institute, 1990




TYPES                                 -      sand, crushed aggregate, cinders, slag, bottom ash


USE                                     -      improve traction of snow and ice covered pavements


ADVANTAGES                 -      works immediately upon application

                                             -      not temperature dependent

                                             -      visible to the public           

                                             -      materials available locally

                                             -      reasonable material cost

                                             -      applied with variety of available equipment

                                             -      may be more acceptable to the public than salt


DISADVANTAGES          -      does not melt ice and snow

                                             -      traffic reduces effectiveness

                                                          blown off

                                                          pushed into snow

                                             -      covered by new snow

                                             -      poor on hard ice                             

                                             -      clogs drains and waterways

                                             -      vehicle corrosion with freeze-proofing salt and chipping paint

                                             -      dust (after storm) contributes to particulate air pollution, limit                                                              fines to reduce impacts

                                             -      may require clean up after storm

                                             -      adequate coverage may  require more equipment trips per mile                             than salt


MATERIAL QUALITY     -      sharp edges, crushed rather than pit run

                                             -      hard, in order to prevent breakdown under traffic

                                             -      maximum size limited to 1/4 (100% passing 3/8 inch)

                                             -      clean, eliminate or minimize material passing #50 sieve


APPLICATION                  -      rates of 1/2 - 2 cubic yards per two lane mile are common

                                             -      volume is more important than weight

                                             -      concentrate at critical locations:




                                                         railroad crossings


                                             -      don’t apply if it will soon be covered with new snow      

                                             -      heavy traffic may require re-application

                                             -      don’t plow it off

                                             -      be careful when applying to hard (glare) ice


STORAGE                          -      abrasives with salt should be covered and stored on an                                                                         impermeable base




TYPES                                 -      more salt than necessary to freeze-proof abrasive

                                             -      mixtures up to equal parts (volume of salt and abrasive have                                                                 been used


USE                                     -      immediately improve friction plus

                                             -      melt snow and ice when temperatures allow


ADVANTAGES                 -      one material (mixture) for all temperature conditions

                                             -      may reduce deicing chemical use (if can wait for favorable                                                                   temperatures)

                                             -      improved friction while waiting for deicing action


DISADVANTAGES          -      salt melting action reduces friction improvement (conflicting                                                                goals)

                                             -      difficult to achieve optimum application rate of either material.

                                                     May be too much salt and not enough abrasive or vice versa.

                                             -      may increase salt use over straight application of separate                                                                     materials

                                             -      may lose salt (due to traffic action) while waiting for favorable                                                            temperatures

                                             -      more trips per mile will be required compared to straight salt


SALT CONSIDERATIONS-     desirable to have coarse graded salt. Large particles burrow into                                                           snow pack and aid breakup. Fines promote surface melting and                                  loss of friction.

                                             -      salt mixed with abrasives has reduced melting over same amount                        of straight salt. Less melting capability (up to 50% less) likely                          due to absorption by aggregate.


APPLICATION                  -      rates of 200 to 500 lbs. per 2 land mile may be common for                                                                  equal mixtures of salt and sand





This is what determines how priority roads are classified:

            Number 1:   Major and minor collector roads (State of Wisconsin - by function).

            Number 2:   All daily traveled school bus routes.

            Number 3:   All daily traveled milk routes.

All other roads will be plowed as soon as equipment is available or in the immediate area with available time.


In order to provide efficient operation it may be necessary to partially complete a minor road to reach a major road of higher priority.       



Agreements have been signed with the City of River Falls and the Towns of Clifton, Kinnickinnic, and Martell, on exchange plowing of roads.  Following is a list of the municipalities and the roads they have agreed to plow and sand:

City of River Falls----------*950th St. from Cemetery Road to the dead end

Town of Clifton-------------860th Ave. to the dead end at W10314 860th Ave.

Town of Martell-------------870th Ave. to County Rd. W.

Town of Martell------------*810th Ave. from W7251 810th Ave. to N8018 747th St.

Town of Kinnickinnic------790th St. to State Rd. 29

Town of River Falls--------690th Ave. to the intersection of 1070th St. in Clifton.

Town of River Falls--------850th St. to County Rd. M in Kinnickinnic.

Town of River Falls--------730th St. from 770th Ave. to the dead end.

Town of River Falls--------All of 975th St. from Cemetery Road to the dead end


*To be plowed and sanded by the first truck to get there.



This policy will be adjusted to meet specific storm circumstances.  Listed below are several special conditions:

-Plowing of snow will be limited in storms early in the fall and late spring on gravel surface roads, due to the lack of frost to support the snow plows.  Plowing gravel off the road creates a hazard as well as being very expensive to the taxpayer.

-Operations may be suspended or reduced due to equipment breakdowns.


The Chairperson has the authority to suspend snow and ice control operations.  This may be done in severe storm conditions when there is danger to operators or it is not practical or cost effective to continue.



No person shall park or leave standing any motor vehicle on any street, road or highway right-of-way in the Town from November 1st of any year through April 1st of the following year, except by permit of the Town Board.  Any vehicle found to be in violation of this section may be towed by the Town at the owner’s expense.



Things you should consider about your snow removal from your driveway:

-Standing in your driveway, facing the road, shovel all your snow to your right at your driveway entrance, thus the snow plow will take the  snow down the road.

-If possible, don’t plow your driveway until the snow plow has gone by.

The State Statutes and the Town of River Falls General Code prohibit plowing any snow from driveways onto town roads.  You are liable for fines and damages.  If you hire someone to plow your driveway, be sure they know about this policy.

According to State Statute 86.105, the Town of River Falls may plow private driveways in an emergency situation.  This will be done with the approval of the Town Chair or board designee. 

Some private driveways, because of steep and narrow construction, are not built to accommodate the Town’s heavy plowing equipment. These driveways could put the equipment at risk of damage. The first concern should be for the maintenance of our public roads, so we must see that our equipment remains in the best condition possible. The Town will only plow and sand driveways which have a grade of 10% or less. The Town reserves the right to deny the request if the conditions are hazardous and/or present unnecessary risks to Town employees or equipment.

Fees for plowing driveways shall be consistent with the established hourly rates for labor and equipment based on the current town fee schedule.  Sand is an additional minimum fee and varies based on length of driveway and volume applied. In the event that Town equipment becomes stuck due to poor conditions, towing service fees, and down time for Town equipment and labor, will be charged to the landowner.



Mailboxes are the only structure that private owners are allowed to install within the right-of-way without a permit as a matter of convenience to the landowners.  Neither the Town of River Falls nor the U.S. Postal Service issues written permits for the placement of mailboxes within the public right-of-way.  The mailbox installation and support along with the on-going maintenance and conformity with current U.S. Postal Service standards are the responsibility of the property owner.  All mailboxes placed within the public right-of-way are owned by the property owner and are placed there at the owner’s risk.

The proper location and installation of mailboxes can minimize potential hazards and provide for safe travel, convenient mail delivery, and effectively accommodate maintenance activities. 

All mailboxes should be mounted at a height of 41 to 45 inches from the road surface to the bottom of the mailbox.  The mailbox should be installed 6 to 8 inches from the edge of the curb or road to the front of the mailbox door.  Mailbox posts need to be a minimum of 2 feet off the shoulder.

Mailbox supports must be designed so that if struck it will bend or fall away from the striking vehicle to prevent severe damage to the vehicle or injury to the traveling public. Supports which will break away under vehicle impact include the following: 4 x 4 inch pine posts, steel channel section V-posts (less than three pounds per foot) and steel posts with a two inch inside diameter. Massive supports such as telephone poles, heavy metal posts, concrete posts, antique farm equipment, or other similar items are prohibited.  Mailboxes must meet minimum/maximum standards of support, setting and size.  A plastic mailbox becomes very brittle in the winter.  An oversized mailbox may collapse from the weight of the snow.

Operators are instructed to be very cautious near mail boxes.  In most cases a properly installed mail box will permit a snow plow to clear snow around it.  Most cases of damaged mail boxes are caused by heavy snow hitting the box.  The mail boxes are not usually hit by the plow.   A mailbox with alleged damage from a direct hit by a town snow plow must be reported immediately and will be visually inspected by one member of the town board and one road employee.  The Town will repair or pay up to $25 to replace the box and post.  The Town assumes no other liability for mail box damage or losses.



When a major snow storm occurs, the Town Chairperson may at his/her discretion, hire one or more part-time persons to assist the two full time employees in running Town equipment.  The Town Chairperson may at his/her discretion hire one or more persons to run town equipment if a full-time employee is unavailable. 

The determination of when to use over-time in the removal of snow or ice shall be made by the Chairperson, or a Board Supervisor if the Chairperson is unavailable.  The need for over-time shall be established from the severity of a storm or emergency condition.




Information about road conditions and operations can be obtained by calling the Town Chair.  After hours, call the Town Chairperson or Supervisors at their respective residences.

Complaints should be directed to the Town Chairperson.  These will be investigated and discussed with the Town Board.  Final action on complaints rests with the Board.

The Town Board, employees, spouses and family members will not deal with rude or belligerent complainants.