Snow & Ice Control
Maintaining safe winter driving conditions on City streets is a priority of the Coralville Streets Department. Current conditions and weather forecasts are monitored so that crews are ready before the flakes begin to fly.
- Plowing begins when snow accumulations reach two to three inches as measured by the Streets Department.
- Snow may fall faster than plows can keep up. Crews work as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Salt and / or sand is spread when the City determines the streets are in a hazardous condition, with an emphasis on hills, curves, and main intersections.
- The City re-plows or re-spreads based on the available weather information and current street conditions.
- During a typical snowfall, streets are cleared within 24 hours after the snowfall ends and are plowed within 24 inches of the curb, unless restricted by parked vehicles.
Report a Concern
If you have questions about plowing on your street or concerns about an unshoveled sidewalk, call 319.248.1740 or report it online and select an option under the "Snow Removal" category.
Priority Order of Plowing Streets
- Arterial streets
- Transit routes
- School zones (a three block radius around public schools, if in session)
- Remaining residential streets
Crews are unable to accommodate individual requests to change the priority of street plowing.
- The State is responsible for snow removal on Highway 6, and Coral Ridge Avenue from Commerce Drive to Highway 6.
- There are a few private streets which the City is not responsible for snow removal.
Clearing Residential Streets & Cul-De-Sacs
- First, the arterial streets, transit routes, and school area streets (when school is in session) are cleared.
- Then, a plow truck is sent to each of seven snow removal zones to simultaneously remove snow throughout Coralville.
During major winter storms:
- Arterial streets, transit routes, and school area streets (when school is in session) are cleared.
- After the stops falling and the arterial streets, transit routes, and school area streets are cleared, plow trucks and end loaders are sent to one zone at a time to make an initial pass. All of the operators work together in a zone to improve efficiency, completing one zone before moving onto another.
- After all zones are cleared, crews begin to push snow back from curbs and haul snow from intersections as needed.
The zone where crews begin is determined by the time of day. Tree coverage and available light are leveraged to maximize efficiency.
Before the Storm
Anti-icing streets with a liquid solution of salt brine prior to a winter storm is a proactive approach. It is applied before a snow/ice event to reduce the chance that ice will bond to the pavement, helps to avoid slick and snow-compacted roads, and makes it easier to clear roads after a snowfall.
Before a winter storm, when conditions are right, crews use anti-icing products on:
- Major streets
- Bus routes
- Big hills
When does it work?
The effectiveness of anti-icing (salt brine) depends on using the right amount in the right place at the right time. The air temperature, road temperature, wind speed, pavement conditions, and forecast are all factors in determining whether anti-icing can be used.
During the Storm
De-icing streets with road salt, treated with salt brine and beet juice, is a reactive approach: it is used after snow and ice have started. De-icing works from the top down to reduce the hard bond of snow/ice to the roadway.
While using salt alone lowers the freezing temperature, salt brine jump starts the process for the chemical reaction to take place and melting to start. If temperatures dip, the effectiveness of salt is reduced.
Sand is used only if temperatures are below 10-15 degrees and/or if there are high winds.
Sand improves traction by increasing friction and helping to prevent tires from slipping on slick roads. Sand can also help prevent new ice from forming on roads: as sand grains move from vehicle tires or wind, it makes it difficult for water molecules to stick together and form ice as quickly as it can on untreated roads.
In some instances, even with thorough plowing, it’s not possible to clear streets down to the bare pavement. Poor weather conditions, combined with vehicles driving over the snow, can cause roads to become slick with compacted snow.
When temperatures fall well below freezing, de-icing agents have a limited effect. In those cases, even with diligent re-plowing, weather conditions may need to change for crews to successfully remove the compacted snow.
|Total lane miles to plow
|Miles of roadway
|Snow team employees
|Single axle trucks (plows)
|Anti-ice units to pre-treat roads
|Hours it takes to clear all city streets one time
(does not include cul-de-sacs)
Sidewalks & Curb Ramps
When to Shovel
If you are a Coralville property owner, you are required to remove snow and ice from your public sidewalks and curb ramps abutting your property within 24 hours after the ice/snowfall ends. (see Code of Ordinances, 136.03, "Removal of Snow, Ice and Accumulations").
How Much to Shovel
Clear snow down to the concrete and the entire width of the sidewalk. A wheelchair, walker, or stroller or cannot get through a narrow path.
Snow and ice-covered walkways are a nuisance and a hazard. Curb ramps (where the sidewalk meets the street) become inaccessible by wheelchair, stroller, or foot when covered or blocked by snow and ice.
Unshoveled Sidewalks & Curb Ramps
The City inspects covered sidewalks and curb ramps on a complaint basis. Inspections are generally made within two business days as weather and staff resources allow, prioritizing hazardous issues. An address must be provided for staff to inspect. To report an issue, call 319.248.1740 or report it online.
- A notice is posted on the door of the property. Property owners have 24 hours from the violation notice to remove snow or ice accumulations from their sidewalks and curb ramps.
- If sidewalks remain uncleared upon re-inspection, the City will clear the snow / ice and assess the removal costs against the property owner. Fees are based upon the amount of time required to clear the walkway. Learn about violations and fees.
Where to Put the Snow
Do not shovel, plow, or blow snow into the street. It creates slick spots when vehicles drive over the snow and compact it, and makes it more difficult for crews to clear the street. The snow that falls on your property should stay on your property.
Snowblowers, Noise, & Snow Removal
Do not use motor-powered, muffler-equipped snow removal equipment (such as a gas snow blower) between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am; it’s not permitted under the City’s noise control ordinance (see Code of Ordinances, 48.05, “Noise Control: Excluded Sounds”). City-owned or City-hired snow removal is allowed during these hours.
Adopt a Hydrant
There are approximately 1,500 fire hydrants in Coralville. Never bury or block fire hydrants with snow.
You can clear snow from nearby fire hydrants so firefighters can see and access them in case there is a fire. Clear a 3'x3' area around the hydrant, with a 3' wide path from the street to the hydrant.
Coralville also has an adopt-a-hydrant program; you can sign up and adopt a fire hydrant to keep it clear of snow and ice this winter. Adopt a fire hydrant
Snow is not cleared from the majority of Coralville’s approximately 100 bus stops, unless the adjacent property owner scoops it out.
If you have a bus stop at your property or in your neighborhood, be a good neighbor and clear a path between the sidewalk and the curb.
For bus riders with limited mobility, if a pile of snow at the bus stop makes it difficult to board the bus, the bus will pull up to the closest paved area as long as it can safely do so.
Within Coralville's trail network, some trails and overwide side paths (sidewalks) are plowed. The Parks Department oversees snow removal on trails.
Using trails for winter sports
Some trails are not plowed, and are used for winter sports such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Some natural surface trails are groomed for fat tire riding.
Why all trails cannot be plowed
It is not possible to clear snow from all trails due to the trail size, surface, or steepness. Drifting snow can make it difficult to keep some trails clear. On some trails, it is not possible to get snow removal equipment in
Trails near schools
The City removes snow on trails that are directly linked to a passageway to a school. See a map of snow removal on Coralville trails
Snow at the Bottom of Driveways
Why did the plow leave snow at the bottom of my driveway?
As the plow moves down the street, the snow rolls off the edge of the blade and into the gutter line. There will always be snow at the bottom of driveways after the street is plowed, so plan ahead. It is not possible efficiently plow the street and keep driveway aprons free of snow.
What you can do about it
You can reduce the amount of snow the plow leaves in your driveway if you are able to clear a path tight to the curb in the area before the plow reaches your driveway:
- If you can safely do so, clear a pocket of snow from the left side of your driveway as you face the road.
- The accumulated snow on the plow will dump into the pocket, and less in your driveway.
Who pays for City snow plowing?
Funding for snow and ice operations comes from Iowa Road Use Taxes, not property taxes. The State distributes road use tax revenues to local governments based on population. Coralville's share of the road use tax fund is used for snow removal, roadway maintenance, street lighting, traffic control, engineering, and street cleaning.
- In what order are streets plowed?
Public streets are cleared of snow and / or treated for ice in the following priority order (exceptions may be made for emergencies):
- Arterial streets
- Transit routes
- School area streets – a three-block radius around all public schools (if school is in session)
- Remaining residential streets
- How soon must I shovel my sidewalk?
City sidewalk regulations require removal of snow and ice from public sidewalks within 24 hours of accumulation. If the City determines that a public sidewalk has not been cleared within 24 hours of accumulation:
- A notice is posted on the door of the property.
- Property owners have 24 hours from the notice of violation to remove snow or ice accumulations from their sidewalks.
- If sidewalks remain uncleared upon re-inspection, the City will clear the snow / ice and assess the removal costs against the property owner. Fees are based upon the amount of time required to clear the walkway.
- Why does the plow leave snow at my driveway and mailbox?
As the plow moves down the street, the snow rolls off the edge of the blade, discharging snow into driveways and around mailboxes. The City is unable to clear access to individual mailboxes or driveways, and cannot prevent snow from being pushed near them during street plowing. It's a good idea to check mailboxes before winter weather arrives to make sure they are stable and behind the curbline.
- Are streets treated with salt/sand after each snowfall?
Streets are treated with salt and/or sand as needed. If the snowfall is so heavy that the area will be re-plowed soon, salt/sand may not be immediately spread since it would be quickly plowed up and wasted.
- Can I use a snowblower in the middle of the night?
Using motor-powered, muffler-equipped snow removal equipment (such as a snow blower) between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am is not permitted under the City's Code of Ordinances (Ch. 48.05). City-owned or City-hired snow removal is an exception.
- If it snows overnight, will my street be plowed by the morning?
Crews rotate around the clock to clear the streets as the weather indicates. For overnight snowfall, staff is called in to plow afterhours based on the time of the storm, road conditions, and amount of snowfall so that the main streets can be clear in the morning. The work is planned so that all areas are plowed in priority order as efficiently and as safely as possible. View street plowing order
- Why do pairs of snowplows sometimes plow side-by-side?
On some streets, such as 1st Avenue or Coral Ridge Avenue, crews "tandem plow" to efficiently remove snow in one pass.
- How many snow plows does the City have?
- The City of Coralville has seven snow plows and two endloaders.
- There are over 77 miles of roadway, 160 lane miles, and 87 cul-de-sacs to clear.
- After a typical snowfall, it takes approximately four hours to clear all City streets one time, not including cul-de-sacs.
- The City is divided into seven zones to plow.
- Do I need to trim my trees?
Property owners are responsible for trimming low-hanging tree and shrub branches. Trees and shrubs that encroach on streets and sidewalks can cause poor visibility, obstruct traffic signs and lights, contribute to accidents, and may be damaged by or cause damage to vehicles or pedestrians that cannot clear them. When the City prepares for winter snow removal, it is also important to keep trees trimmed so that streets are passable by snow plows. City code (150.13) requires a minimum clearance of 15 feet over streets and 9 feet over sidewalks; in addition, limbs should not hang over the curb line. The City inspects low-hanging trees and shrubs on a complaint basis, and leaves a “Code Compliance Notice” when trimming is needed. Property owners are given a date by which to correct the violation. For more information, please contact the Coralville Streets Department at 319.248.1740.
- How tall can my grass grow?
Grass/Weed Height: 10” Maximum
All property owners are responsible for mowing and trimming their property. The maximum height allowed by City code for grasses, weeds, and other vegetation is 10 inches. While isolated weeds tend to grow faster than grass between mowings, the height of the majority of the grass and weeds in lawn areas should not exceed 10 inches (garden plants and ornamental grasses are excluded).
Complaints & Inspections
The City of Coralville inspects grass and weed violations when a nuisance complaint is reported. If a complaint is made, the City inspects and:
- If no violation is found, no further action is taken.
- If a violation is found, the property owner is notified and given five days to mow. Safety issues, such as a blocked right-of-way, may be given a shorter period of time.
- The City will re-inspect the property on or after the due date. If the problem has not been corrected, the City will mow/trim within two to seven days (weather permitting), and the cost is billed to the property owner.
- Further violations in the calendar year will be mowed by the City at the owner’s expense.
How to Report a Grass/Weed Nuisance
Complaints of long grass and weeds can be made by contacting the Streets Department at 319.248.1740 or online at www.coralville.org/letusknow.
- Mowing and trimming grass is more difficult when it is long. Watch the weather and maintain a mowing / trimming schedule.
- Remember to mow / trim the right of way (area between the sidewalk and the curb) and along buildings, fences, and other borders.
- Never sweep or blow grass clippings into the street, ditches, or drains – these are pollutants that can plug storm sewers.
- If your neighbor’s lawn is long and you have a friendly relationship with them, ask to help or try talking with them. You may find they already have plans to take care of the problem.
- Make arrangements to have your property cared for if you are going out of town or if circumstances prevent you from maintaining your property.
- I found a dead animal. Who do I call?
If a dead animal is found in the road or in the right of way in Coralville, please call the Coralville Streets Department at 319.248.1740 for disposal.
If a dead animal is found on City property such as in a park or on a trail, contact the Coralville Parks Department at 319.248.1780. If the animal is in a timber area, it will be allowed to decay naturally unless it is adjacent to a trail or park area that is reasonably expected to be accessed by the public.
If a dead animal is found on private property, the property owner must move the animal to the curb; call the Coralville Streets Department at 319.248.1740 to pick it up.
If you find a dead animal with collar or identification or believe the animal is a pet, call the Coralville Police Department at 319.248.1800. Officers will attempt to locate the owner.