Rochester Hills launches online snowplow tracker

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 7, 2019

 The city of Rochester Hills recently launched a new online a map that shows the recent whereabouts of snowplows.

The city of Rochester Hills recently launched a new online a map that shows the recent whereabouts of snowplows.

Photo provided by the city of Rochester Hills

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Drivers who frequent Rochester Hills can now see exactly which roads the city’s snowplows have cleared after a winter storm.

Rochester Hills officials recently launched a new online snowplow tracker, a map that shows the recent whereabouts of plows, at rochesterhills.plowtracker.com.

“We take pride in being an innovative leader in our snow removal operations,” Mayor Bryan Barnett said in a statement. “This new technology is another way we have enhanced our service delivery and communication to our residents.”

The Department of Public Services is responsible for snow and ice control on 242 miles of local roads and 38 miles of city major roads.

“We have 16 heavy-duty trucks that have the ability to plow and salt — we do have systems on those trucks that pre-wet the salt with a brine solution that assists that salt to work and the melting process — 14 4x4 pickups that assist with the cul-de-sacs and the smaller, tighter confined spaces that we have to get into, and if needed, we have two road graders that can be utilized,” Public Services Director Allan Schneck said.

The DPS, he explained, uses a prioritization system to keep roads clear — starting with the major streets, moving into the local roads, and finally tackling the subdivisions.

“Our major roads are our first priority, and then — depending on the snowfall — our maintenance policy essentially is, if we get 4 inches or more of snowfall, it’s an all out, let’s get the city cleared, but if its less than 4 inches, we maintain those majors and, as time permits — not on overtime — we’ll get into the local streets,” Schneck said.

As of Jan. 1, anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone can track the work of the city’s snowplows from the comfort of their own home, thanks to the city’s new Automated Vehicle Location system, which uses technology to show viewers the real-time locations and statuses of snowplows via an online map. The map shows where plows have been during the last two, four, 12 and 24 hours.

“This doesn’t tell you exactly where they’re headed next, but you get a good idea of where we are, where the trucks are,” Barnett said. “Sometimes people say, ‘Well doggonit, I haven’t seen anybody out from the city in three hours.’ Well, log on to this and you can see where we are, what we’ve covered, and you can kind of tell how quickly we are able to clear the city after a significant event.”

The city, Barnett said, is one of only two, possibly three, Michigan municipalities that offers this kind of technology to residents.

“It’s another opportunity to be as transparent as possible,” he said.

Residents can submit information and comments about winter road maintenance to the city of Rochester Hills by calling (248) 656-4685. Additional information about the city’s winter road maintenance can be found on the Department of Public Services page on the city’s website at www.rochesterhills.org.

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