City crews and equipment are ready for winter

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 24, 2015

 Les Sproessig, of the Troy Fleet Maintenance Division, preps the tires on the big rig Nov. 18 to ensure it will handle the rigors of the winter ahead.

Les Sproessig, of the Troy Fleet Maintenance Division, preps the tires on the big rig Nov. 18 to ensure it will handle the rigors of the winter ahead.

Photo by Deb Jacques


The salt dome is filled and the city plows and salting equipment are ready to battle Old Man Winter.

The Troy Fleet Maintenance Division operates day and afternoon shifts, and maintains approximately 500 pieces of city-owned equipment.

The city also does maintenance and repair work for vehicles on an as-needed basis for 15 other communities and agencies under interlocal agreements: the Road Commission for Oakland County, Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Oak Park, Royal Oak, Clawson, Rochester, Madison Heights, Center Line, Huntington Woods, the Southeast Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority, the Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority and Oakland County Medigo Services, as well as vehicles for the Troy School District, not including the school buses.

Brian Varney, superintendent of fleet maintenance for the city of Troy, said the city has purchased four new snow plows/salt spreaders over the last two years.

“Each year, we tear down each piece to ensure the equipment is safe so the trucks can stay on the roads,” Varney said. “We don’t want breakdowns in the middle of the storm. We find a lot of failures before they happen. Our salt dome is full. We’re ready.”

He noted that Troy police monitor city roadways 24/7 and keep the Fleet Maintenance Division apprised of road conditions.

“The police are hooked into our radio system,” Varney said. “We have lots of eyes on the road.”

Crews clear roadways of snow of over 3 inches or when roadways are unsafe. For example, crews would clear roadways of wet snow of less than 3 inches if temperatures were expected to drop  below zero the next day, Kurt Bovensiep, public works manager for the city of Troy, explained to council members at the Oct. 26 meeting, when they unanimously approved an agreement with the Road Commission for Oakland County to clear county roadways in Troy.

Crews start clearing the northwest corner of the city first because it’s the hilliest and has the most curves. Crews then rotate when they clear roadways in the rest of the city, with the aim to clear roadways within 24 hours after snowfall of over 3 inches has stopped.

“We make evaluations based on each snowstorm,” said Tim Richnak, public works director.

“More than 6 inches, 8 or 12 inches, does take longer,” Richnak said, with the goal being to clear subdivisions and streets in 36 hours after snowfall ends. Richnak added that crews will aim to clear roadways of snowfall of over 12 inches, after snow has stopped, within 48 hours.

The budget for snow and ice control for 2015-16 for major, local and county roadways is $1.76 million.

Bovensiep asked residents to move cars off the streets so the plows can clear the entire roadway. There is an online map that will show when roadways will be cleared at