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Snow Removal
Due to budget concerns that are effecting several counties in Maryland, including Frederick County, we are changing the way we plow roads. We will plow 2 lanes on all roads so that cars may pass. We will not be clearing curb-to-curb as we have done in the past seasons.

Here are some tips to follow during a snow event:
  • Per County Code, all County roads are designated Snow Emergency Routes.
  • Please park vehicles in driveways and not on the roadway or in cul-de-sacs. Vehicles in the roadways or cul-de-sacs will be towed at the owner’s expense.
  • If you don't have access to an off-street parking area, neighborhoods can help by parking all vehicles on the same side of the street.  This gives the plow more room to work.
  • If you shovel your driveway apron before the snow plow comes through, always place the snow on the right, facing the street.
  • Stay at least two car length behind a snow plow for every 20 mph you are traveling; never cut between a caravan of plows that is clearing the highway.
  • Listen to the radio before and during a storm to see if the Snow Emergency Plan has been declared in Frederick County.
  • Do not drive during a severe winter storm.
Snow Plow

Frederick County uses the following materials during a snow event:
  • Rock salt
  • Anti-skid
  • M-1000 Caliber (Liquid De-icer)

Frederick County does not use molasses as an additive to our salt mixture. Our understanding is that some of the other road maintenance organizations might, such as Maryland State Highway may be using a mixture of molasses and salt brine.

We still use primarily rock salt to assist during and prior to snow removal. We also mix the salt with anti-skid, a small stone chip for added traction. If we are treating the roads, prior to the storm or if the temperature dictates, we will spray a liquid onto the salt. The liquid that we use is a mixture of magnesium chloride and a corn byproduct, very similar to corn syrup.

On the surface, you are correct in thinking that using molasses (or other similar type additives, such as corn syrup) doesn’t make much sense in our snow removal operations. However because of the colder temperatures during winter, these additives become more viscous or sticky. This property is very useful in our operations in that the salt is treated with an additive as it comes out of the spreader. This treatment makes the salt tackier and adheres to the roadway better instead of hitting the road and bouncing off. This decreases the amount of salt we use and retains more on the road where it needs to be. In addition to the viscous issue above, these products are less corrosive than that of straight salt, so we save on the rusting of our equipment as well as the product is more environmentally-friendly.

Another great feature of the product is that it increases the salt’s effective melting process. Typically, salt becomes ineffective in melting snow/ice at about 24°F; whereas this product lowers the effective temperature for salt to about 0°F.

To give you an idea of the amount of material is used. If we were spreading the salt at 500 pounds per mile (an average amount of the recent storms) one pound of salt would cover over 200 square feet. The additive is applied to the salt at a rate of 8 gallons per ton. So in that 200 square foot, you would have 1 pound of salt and ½ of an ounce of liquid. As you can see the amount is minimal but provides excellent results.

Because of the addition of this product to our salt mixture, we have been able to reduce the amount of salt mixture that is applied to the road which in turn saves the County money.

During heavy snow events, we will plow only the roads listed on the Priority Roads list. Once the storm has past, we will go and clear the secondary roads and subdivision roads. Once all streets have been cleared and material has been applied, we will widen back all roads.

View the Priority Roads map.

View Frederick County Office of Highway Operations “Making Winter Storms Safe” brochure.
Report all unsafe road conditions immediately to Highway Operations at 301-600-1564.After hours, please call Central Communications' non-emergency number at 301-600-1603.

To report damage that has resulted from snow removal operations,please fill out a county work request form or you may contact us via email or by phone at 301-600-1564.