Winter Maintenance Management

This course identifies several components needed for effective planning for and management of snow and ice events by typical local and state agencies.  Often deemed most critical to the process, the making (or obtaining) of both long and short term forecasts that are as accurate as possible is necessary for a planning platform on which to build.  The factors involved in those predictions by the Iowa Department of Transportation, (DOT) staff will be explained to provide some of the tools that agencies might use to “fine tune” public broadcast information for their particular geographic areas.  In addition, a review is included of DOT forecasts (that are currently provided to everyone by specific regions) may be found and how to use them. 

Policy and planning decisions made by public agencies affect not only their needed resources to accomplish the goals they set, but also can strongly affect that agency’s finances, especially in times of extreme weather events or seasons.  Likewise, an agency’s use of chemicals and abrasives can be looked at from several vantage points; these policies and procedures must be combined with snow and ice fighting techniques to produce a final result which is both environmentally and economically sound and is also socially acceptable.  Typical plans of a city, county and the DOT will be reviewed to provide an overview of the many combinations that are available.  Obviously, we are not in a static system, neither in terms of our weather patterns nor the equipment we use to battle Mother Nature and keep our roads and streets safe.  An update of many new types of equipment will be presented and areas of ongoing research and trials will be reviewed on a national perspective.

These skills are all developed by knowing:

  • That an agency’s adopted policies and procedure directly affect resource needs and finances.
  • The appropriate factors to be used in making and modifying accurate forecasts
  • How chemicals and abrasives work, both singly and in combination
  • Effective snow and ice fighting strategies for various conditions

Once completed participants should be able to:

  • Distinguish both important and costly components of a snow policy.
  • Identify major weather factors that can help predict (and modify) forecasts.
  • Recognize conditions when certain combinations of materials work best.
  • Use some of the techniques learned effectively and economically in his/her agency.
  • Recognize advances in equipment design and usage and the direction of improvements

Key Concepts:

  • While not totally predictable, weather trends and conditions may be forecast with some certainty 
  • Current and future weather conditions often dictate what methods and materials should be used for treatments.
  • A broad spectrum of equipment/materials is available to match local needs/budget restrictions

Offering format

On-line, independent study



Offering level (Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced)


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