2011 Ice Storm
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The ice storm of 2011 required a team effort from over 260 City staff working non-stop for 8 days. The work began before the ice storm hit the City with pre-salting roads and creating a strategy for the best response for residents.

  • Monday Afternoon: Indy Snow Force activated its ice control plan. Eighty Indy Snow Force drivers pre-treated the City’s primary thoroughfares and secondary streets. They dropped salt that contains magnesium chloride, an ingredient that helps to prevent icy conditions.
  • Monday Evening: The crews continued to salt the streets overnight as freezing rain and sleet fell in the City. Meanwhile, 15 one ton units worked to salt at key public safety facilities and Indy Parks.
  • Tuesday Morning: Crews continued to salt and plow the streets.
  • Tuesday Afternoon: Mayor Ballard issued a travel watch. Drivers were encouraged to drive only if necessary, to and from work and emergency reasons. During this time, crews continued to address the icy conditions. The lull in the weather system allowed Indy Snow Force to stay ahead of the brewing ice storm.
  • Tuesday Evening: The challenges intensified when the lull ended and the freezing rain picked up during the next weather system. Indy Snow Force continued to salt the streets in the evening and overnight hours.
  • Wednesday Morning: By morning rush hour, the primary and secondary streets were drivable. Mayor Ballard led a strategy meeting with operations and engineering to determine what was needed to ensure that residents could get to their destination as safely as possible. The Mayor also discussed what the City could do to help children return to school. This included the decision to re-direct some of the drivers to the connector streets, main streets and intersections near Indianapolis Schools. Mayor Ballard also devised a solid waste plan to resume trash pick-up on a one-day delay. Due to the improved conditions of the roads, Mayor Ballard changed the travel watch from orange to yellow, still encouraging residents to be careful. Plow contractors were not able to move the ice. But all available salt spreading contractors were utilized and added to the team.
  • Wednesday Afternoon: Indy Snow Force continued to salt and plow the primary thoroughfares and secondary streets. Crews were dispatched to the connectors and major streets and intersections near schools. Indy Snow Force received help form 15 solid waste trucks that helped to plow the primary and secondary streets. Salt spreading contractors continued to work.
  • Wednesday Evening: The work continued through the evening hours. Indy Snow Force maintained its full call out of 80 drivers while receiving help from solid waste crews, Indy Parks, and private contractors. DPW began to reach out to schools via telephone to see what their needs were.
  • Thursday Morning: Discussions continued on how the City could help get children back in the classrooms. The Mayor called a meeting of key personnel to examine how to get more snow trucks into the residential areas while Indy Snow Force remained on the streets.
  • Thursday Afternoon: Road conditions on the primary and secondary streets improved as the drivers continue to salt and plow as necessary. Crews also remain focused on the major streets near the schools.
  • Friday Morning: DPW leadership determined the primary and secondary streets were in good enough shape to send Indy Snow Force into all the neighborhood streets to join the contractors and 15 one ton units that had been in the neighborhoods since Wednesday. This effort also included support from contractors with salting capabilities.
  • Friday Afternoon: The City received word late Friday afternoon from the Indianapolis Public Schools that they would like our help with salting their 67 school parking lots. Meanwhile, Indy Snow Force continued preparations for the next storm by performing maintenance on the snow fleet. Three crews repaired potholes all day before the next snow system arrived.
  • Friday Evening: Crews were dispatched to the school parking lots around 5:00 p.m. Friday evening. The drivers completed the salting of the school parking lots by midnight and they also salted the neighborhood streets.
  • Saturday Morning: Indy Snow Force changed gears early this morning before the snow arrived. The drivers pre-treated the primary thoroughfares and secondary streets with salt. They continued to salt and plow the streets all morning in tandem with the steady snowfall. Fifteen 1-ton trucks continued to salt the neighborhood streets.
  • Saturday Afternoon: Snow trucks remained on the streets and contractors continued work in the neighborhoods and residential areas. There are 375 snow routes on the primary and secondary streets.
  • Sunday: Crews remained out on the streets, continuing to clear snow and slush. They salted the roads in anticipation of the snow Sunday evening and worked hard to ensure safety during Monday morning’s commute.
  • Monday: Indy Snow Force was in action all day and finally released crews at 7pm to go home. The focus for the team will now shift to pothole repair.