New snow removal plan makes residents angry

Mid-Missouri spent the day digging out.

But in one county, residents are upset about the road crew's snow removal policy.

Thursday our Fact-Finder Team met with the Callaway County commissioner to learn about the new policy, which is not even a month old.

Snow covered Callaway County roads Wednesday night and into Thursday.

"The roads are slick. It TMs messy out there and the snow is coming down real hard, Callaway County resident T.J. Gibson said. It TMs just a mess."

When the snowfall stopped Thursday morning, the county got upwards of nine inches, and that's when Callaway County road crews started plowing.

"You know a lot of people don't work 8 p.m. to 4 p.m. There are night shifts and there's evening shifts, Tow Pro Owner Eddie Stafford said. The world goes on 24 hours a day, and if it's snowing at night we need to get the roads clear."

The shift in the snow-plowing schedule is all because of a new policy.

It said," The county will not dispatch plows until after the snowfall has stopped; Except: when conditions allow reasonable accomplishments to be made, or in an emergency, or other special circumstances.

"We don't have the staff and the resources for a 24 hour snow removal, Callaway County Highway Administrator Paul Winkelmann said.

Tow Pro owner Eddie Stafford thinks the county should look into a different policy because, Wednesday night he said everyone was getting stuck, even his tow trucks.

"We had fire trucks stuck, we had people stuck, the roads blocked, and we couldn't get out our place even with chains on our wreckers for 2 hours Wednesday night, Stafford said.

The policy also said," The county will perform snow removal operations when accumulation exceeds two inches or when icy conditions seriously affect travel."

The county commissioner told KRCG that's because snow plows can't really plow snow when there are fewer than 2 inches on the roads.

"We really wanted to prevent us going out when there's a half inch of snow on the ground. People expect us to plow that off; you can't plow snow when it's a half inch, Callaway County Commissioner Gabe Craighead said. So we set a limit of the amount of snow that has to be on the ground before we start bringing the people in to start plowing."

Craighead said he thinks the new policy is working great.

But not everyone in Callaway County thinks he is right.

"We TMre a class A county and it's sad we can't even get our roads plowed, Stafford said.

If you would like to read the Snow Removal plan please scroll down.



Snow Removal and Ice Control Policy

November 2010


The following Policy has been established to provide guidelines for the public and for plow operators to follow in order to ensure consistent practices for snow and ice removal during winter storm events. Our goal is to have all County Roads passable within a reasonable amount of time after a snowfall has stopped. Our plowing priorities reflect a commitment to insuring that key roads are kept open to serve critical facilities and to provide access between state highways and our communities. This policy is designed to provide the best service possible, but residents should have realistic expectations. Unpredictable weather conditions and limited financial resources make it impossible to ensure absolutely safe roads. Even with the best service, driving conditions may be hazardous in the winter months, Icing bridges, snow packed roads and snow drifting onto roads are expected aspects of winter travel and drivers should be prepared and drive defensively.


Callaway County maintains approximately 820 miles of County Roads. Snow removal operations are accomplished with mounted plows with cinder spreaders and motor graders. The number and types of equipment used in snow removal operations may change over time due to budget restrictions. In order to reasonably meet the Public TMs expectations; the following Policy will apply.


DISPATCHING OF SNOW PLOWS - The decision to plow and/or cinder will be made by the County Highway Administrator and/or Road & Bridge Foreman based on the following guidelines:

  • The County will not dispatch plows until after the snowfall has stopped; EXCEPT: (a) when conditions allow reasonable accomplishments to be made, or (b) in an emergency or other special circumstances.
  • The County will perform snow removal operations when accumulations exceed two (2) inches.
  • The County will perform ice control measures when icy conditions seriously affect travel.
OPERATIONS " Generally the following phases will be used in snow removal operations:

  1. Make the roads passable. Clean one lane in each direction. The County will perform cinder operations at problem areas, including curves, hills and intersections. The County does not assure a completely bare road and will not cinder entire sections of roadway. Users of the highway system are reminded to exercise caution and drive with care.
  2. Clean up. Remove ice and slush off roadway after the cinders and sun have been allowed to work.
Depending upon the situation, more than one phase may be accomplished at one time.

HOURS OF OPERATION " The normal weekday early start time during a snow event is 5:00 a.m. The County is staffed for one shift of snow and ice removal. In a snow event, the necessary County personnel will be mobilized by the Road & Bridge Foreman or his designee and all necessary equipment will be on the road by 6:00 a.m. Weekends and holidays will receive a reduced level of service due to lower traffic volumes and the limited resources available.

Operator duty shifts are generally limited to a maximum of 12 hours per day for safety reasons, therefore; most routes will not have coverage between 5:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. the next morning.

Note that in no case is 24 hour a day coverage provided due to lower traffic volumes, limited resources and operator safety concerns.

Operations will be halted when: (a) service levels are reached, (b) coverage time has elapsed, (c) conditions are too hazardous, or (d) reasonable accomplishments cannot be made.

ROAD PRIORITIES " It is the goal of the Road & Bridge Department to serve the majority of the public in the quickest way possible, with this in mind, roads with higher traffic volumes will typically receive higher priority. The following are the priorities plow operators will attempt to adhere to.

  1. Major County Highways which carry heavy traffic volumes.
  2. Medium volume County roads that serve as mail and/or school bus routes and provide access for numerous rural residents.
  3. Low volume County roads that may serve as mail and/or school bus routes but serve few rural residents.
PERSONAL PROPERTY " Mailboxes, fences, and other items damaged during snow and ice removal are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Only those items that were damaged by actual contact with County equipment may be repaired at the County TMs expense, provided they were located and installed properly.

The Road & Bridge Department is not responsible for clearing snow in front of mailboxes.

The County is not liable for damages to fences, vehicles, and/or other objects placed on County right of way.

County residents are reminded to remove parked vehicles from county roadways to assist in snow removal. If parked vehicles are encountered and it is deemed they interfere with county snow removal equipment the roadway may not be plowed until vehicles are removed.

PRIVATE DRIVES " The County will not clear snow from private drives. Normal snow removal operations may result in snow being deposited in private drives. Snow from private drives shall not be placed on the county roadway. Piles of snow left on or near the road from private drives can freeze into a solid mass creating a hazardous situation for vehicles and snowplows. Accidents and damages caused by snow piles placed in the roadway may result in liability to the property owner.

STRANDED MOTORISTS " Plow operators may assist stranded motorists by contacting local law enforcement and/or emergency personnel. Plow operators will not attempt to remove a stuck vehicle unless: (a) directed by law enforcement, (b) it poses a danger to the traveling public, or (c) it hinders snow removal operations.

EMERGENCIES " Snow plow crews will not be dispatched at night except for true emergency calls such as assisting fire departments or ambulance crews. The Callaway County Emergency Operations Center should be contacted for all emergencies by dialing 911. Plows will not be dispatched unless it is a Fire or Medical Emergency coordinated through the Sheriff TMs Office. Icing bridges, snow packed roads and snow drifting onto roads are expected aspects of winter travel and generally not adequate justification to dispatch plow crews after working hours.

INFORMATION " Non-emergency questions or concerns regarding snow removal should be directed to the Callaway County Road & Bridge Department at 573-642-0740 during normal business hours (M-F 7:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.).


This Policy was developed to provide general guidelines for both county personnel and the traveling public. This policy intends to cover the majority of situations normally encountered in winter storm events. If certain situations arise that are not part of the above Policy, the County Highway Administrator or Road & Bridge Foreman will deal with them on a case-by-case basis. Each decision to mobilize the snow plow crews is a judgment call based on the particular weather conditions combined with past experience along with the resources available at the time and therefore may not adhere strictly to this general policy.