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Ask NOW: What is the procedure for plowing snow?

Dennis Friedrich, a crew chief in the city’s Highway Division, stands with a plow in front of $100,000 worth of sand and salt.

Dennis Friedrich, a crew chief in the city’s Highway Division, stands with a plow in front of $100,000 worth of sand and salt.

Dec. 3, 2013

Is there a rumor you'd like tracked down? Rory Linnane answers some of the mysteries of life in Brookfield and helps solve everyday problems.

While city sleeps, Brookfield plow drivers are on duty

Question: How does the city decide when and where to plow? How long does it take?

Answer: The ideal time for plowing snow is at 2 a.m., Highway Supervisor Terry Starns said. That way, the team has a chance to get the city streets cleared by 7 a.m. for those traveling to work and school. But the weather is unpredicatable. "My life is the city's during this time of year," Starns said.

The city's highway division employs 24 people full time to help with plowing during the winter. They're year-round laborers who help with different tasks in other seasons. Whenever there's more than an inch of snowfall, it's all hands on deck, Starns said, with three snow plows on the main roads and 20 on residential roads. Although it varies, it generally takes the crew about eight hours to get to every road when there's two to six inches of snow.

In addition to plowing the snow, Starns said, crews salt every street, and, when it is especially cold, add liquid calcium chloride to make the salt activate more quickly.

It gets hard when there's a continuous snow, Starns said.

"Sometimes people don't realize that if it's snowing an inch an hour, by the time a plower gets through his route, he's already got three inches of snow behind him," he said. "It's just never-ending."

Email Rory Linnane with your question at

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