The Daily Illini

Snowfall this winter is still below average

Austin Yattoni

Austin Yattoni

By Jiejie Wang, Staff Writer

Despite several snowstorms having swept over campus this winter, the snowfall is still below average, according to University Facilities and Services.

Steve Breitwieser, manager of communications and external relations in Facilities and Services, said in an email the overall snowfall for this winter is currently tracking similar to amounts from the last couple of years, which have been below the historical average.

Facilities and Services is responsible for providing snow removal for 23 miles of roadway, 147 parking lots, 90 miles of sidewalk, 10 miles of bicycle paths and more than 200 buildings on 1,400 acres of land, according to the Facilities and Services website.

“The University typically starts with around 1,000 tons of road salt in preparation for the winter weather season,” Breitwieser said. “Brine and the pretreatment of de-icing liquid helps facilitate the snow/ice removal process.”

There are more than 125 employees at Facilities and Services working hard to keep the campus open and accessible for students, faculty and staff, according to the F&S website. Most of them are involved directly in snow or ice removal operations, Breitwieser said.

He said the process uses approximately 30 different pieces of equipment and almost 20 different trucks and loaders.

“Snow (or) ice removal is priority work, and campus must remain open and accessible to students, faculty and staff,” Breitwieser said.

The Public Works Departments from both Champaign and Urbana also said the snowfall this winter is below average.

Kris Koester, public information officer in the Champaign Public Works Department, said in an email Champaign is only at 10.8 inches of snow this winter so far. Average snowfall for Champaign is 24 inches.

Cindy Om
Source: Illinois State Water Survey

“The City of Champaign budgets approximately $450,000 per year for snow removal,” Koester said. “This includes salaries, supplies (salt, calcium chloride), fuel, vehicle maintenance, etc. The City also budgets money in reserve in the event of emergencies.”

On Feb. 6, the Urbana Public Works Department declared public sidewalks are required to be cleared by adjacent property owners within 24 hours, within the defined districts.

John Collins, operations manager at Urbana Public Works Department, said this declaration only applies for three locations, namely the downtown district, the campus district and the south business district.

Jason Arrasmith, environmental control officer in the Urbana Public Works Department, said property owners would get a warning if they didn’t clear it within 24 hours.

“The office has given out 12 to 15 warnings this winter so far,” Arrasmith said. “If they still didn’t clear it within another 24 hours after the warning, they would possibly receive a bill including the fine plus the cost that the office uses to hire employees to clear the snow.”

Arrasmith said the fine would be $25 for a first offense. No fines have been issued yet.

“The only problem we’ve really been having this year with the snow is that after the snow event, the temperature gets so cold, and that affects how the salt works,” Collins said.

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