For many of us, the fresh sight of snow brings winter joy and outdoor fun. After several cold weeks of being cooped up inside, residents take advantage of the snow for recreational activities, such as sledding, snowball fights, and hiking.

For the City of Fort Wayne’s Street Department, snow means tough plowing work and long hours. Nevertheless, it’s important work that is provided to residents.

Before, during, and after snowfall events, the City of Fort Wayne’s Street Department is committed to keeping all roads safe and clear within the city limits. While each snowfall is different, the street department uses years of experience and reliable forecasting to plan for the safest and most effective snowplow operation.

After each heavy snowfall, many residents wonder aloud and on social media: When will our roads be plowed? The City of Fort Wayne Street Commissioner Brian Shimkus says the city has an established and effective snowplow strategy in place.

“We do our main arteries first, as in the main roads.” said Shimkus. “We have three priorities: number ones, numbers twos, and numbers threes. The numbers ones are the highly travelled, main arteries through Fort Wayne. The numbers twos are still highly travelled roads, but mostly cut throughs to get to the main roads. Once these two priorities are completed and if we get three inches of snow, we move into the residential neighborhoods.”

In many areas of the Midwest, predicting seasonal snowfall is very difficult. Some winters are mild, while some shutdown cities for days at a time. During the 2020-2021 season, Fort Wayne totaled 31 inches of snow, compared to 15 inches in 2016-2017. On average, our city receives 32.4 inches.

While one or two heavy snowfalls are expected in Fort Wayne most winter seasons, the Street Department is always on standby.

“In terms of snow, Indiana is a unique place,” said Shimkus. “We’ll get a snow event on let’s say a Tuesday, we’ll plow the roads, and then the snow melts the next day on Wednesday. It’s unpredictable most years, but we are always ready. Our main goal is to keep our residents safe and our crews will work day and night to ensure the roads are cleared for everyone.”

When a heavy snow event occurs, what can residents do to help make the process easier for Street Department employees?

“Be patient. If possible, stay off the roads,” said Shimkus. “Get informed before a snow event happens. Try not to pass our trucks. If you do need to travel and see a plowing truck, stay a safe distance behind them.”

For a detailed look at the City of Fort Wayne’s snow removal operation, including snow routes, please visit cityoffortwayne/snow