Typically, crews begin plowing in subdivisions when two inches of snow has accumulated.
The main thoroughfares in subdivisions are repeatedly plowed during a storm. Once the storm has stopped and those roads are clear, crews work to make residential streets and cul-de-sacs “passable.”
A neighborhood street is considered passable when a path is drivable (with caution) for an average passenger vehicle. The road will not be cleared curb-to-curb or to bare pavement, and may remain snow-packed, uneven and rutted (especially following any refreeze). Chemicals are not typically used in subdivisions, but crews will sand hills, curves and intersections as needed to provide traction. For most storms, one snowplow pass, about eight to ten feet wide, is made.
VDOT judges subdivisions complete through processed snow maps, resident call volume, AVL and feedback from VDOT monitors.
While VDOT does not remove snow from sidewalks or trails, crews are asked to be mindful of pushing large amounts of snow onto sidewalks, driveways, etc. With major storms, it is often an unintended consequence of making roads passable. When shoveling driveways, residents should leave the last few feet at the curb until the street is plowed, as the truck will push some snow back. It also helps to shovel to the right facing the road.
To give crews a chance to finish their assigned snow maps, VDOT asks that residents wait a few days after the storm is over before reporting roads as “missed.” Once crews have finished their routes, resident complaints are mapped into a database that feeds lists of locations back to the area headquarters to double-check and address. It is also helpful for crews if residents park on the odd-numbered side of their street to allow plows room to pass.