The intent of this message is to advise Town of Riverhead residents of our highway department’s safety winter snow-plowing and anti-icing/de-icing goals and objectives.

The cooperation and understanding of all residents is essential for the highway department to achieve the objective of maintaining or restoring the roadways open and safe for travel as promptly and efficiently as possible during winter snow storms.

The following is a general description of the highway department’s snow and ice operations policy. You must also be aware that each storm is different, but we will try to follow our snow and ice operations policy as closely as possible.

Prior to an impending storm, the highway department initiates its anti-icing operations by spreading a brine solution first on main roads, hills, curves, school bus routes and last all side roads and subdivisions. The brining serves two main purposes: it prevents the snow from bonding and compacting to the pavement and it keeps traffic moving safely during the initial phase of the storm.

As the snow starts to fall the highway department will dispatch trucks to sand the roads. The main roads are sanded first, then the secondary and side roads, and finally, subdivisions.

After the sanding operation has been completed the Highway Department will begin snow removal in the same order with priority given to the main roads, intersections, school zones, streets with hills and curves. All secondary streets and subdivisions are given equal attention after the main roads and intersections have been cleared.

High winds may create dangerous drifting of snow and if this occurs the highway department will go into a “main road plowing -only mode” until the roads can be made safe for travel.

Once the snowfall has stopped and all roads are clear of snow, post storm de-icing operations commence. All roads are treated with salt and sand when necessary to improve traction and melt remaining snow and ice.

Residents can assist the highway department during a snow storm by heeding these suggestions:

  • Reduce your speed and drive cautiously.
  • Remain off the roadways during snow storms unless absolutely necessary.
  • Park vehicles in driveways and off the roadway. Vehicles left parked on roadways create a hazard to other drivers and delays highway crew’s efforts to plow the roads. The Riverhead Town Code section 289-47 says if your vehicle is left on the road it can be towed and or ticketed.
  • Move basketball hoops, garbage cans, etc. off the roadway.
  • Do not plow, blow or throw snow back into the road. (NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 1219 and Chapter 92 of the Town Code)
  • Stock up ahead of time, to avoid driving during a snow storm events. Storms are normally forecast two to three days in advance so please make every effort to gather whatever supplies you and your family will need, i.e. gas, food, water, and medicine, to last two or three days.
  • BE PATIENT… The highway department will get to your area and make every effort to plow all roadways as quickly as possible and try to place snow along the roadway or within the cul­ de-sac in a location that will cause as little inconvenience to residents as possible.

In the event of an emergency, please call the Riverhead Police Department. The Police Department will notify the highway department so that we may get whatever emergency equipment is needed to the scene. Following this procedure will decrease the amount of time that it takes for you to receive emergency assistance.

The Town of Riverhead Highway Department has only 30 employees to cover well over 500 lane miles of roadways. With your assistance and patience, the highway department will be able to get roads open, keep traffic flowing, and restore roads to safe traveling conditions quickly.

REMEMBER: SLOW DOWN, SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN.

Thank you,

Riverhead Highway Superintendent Woodson

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