Quad City Area public works departments react to mild winter

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 11:00 PM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Quad City Area drivers may have noticed less snow and ice on the road this season as we approach the halfway point of winter this Friday.

The QC metro has seen an average of about 10.8 inches of snow so far this season.

During the entire 2022 season, it saw 17.5 inches of snow.

Taking a step back to the last few years, in 2020-21 it saw 41.1 inches, in 2019-20 almost 29.9 inches, and in 2018-19 it saw 58.7 inches.

While there’s still plenty of winter to go this year, public works officials are excited to see what this milder winter means for their departments.

Moline Municipal Services Manager Rodd Schick said the city sees an average of about five significant snow events a season. This year they’ve only seen one and they’ve deployed plows four times so far.

He said it’s allowing them to give attention to other issues around town.

“This is a dream winter,” Schick said. “We’re able to work on staying ahead of potholes and other maintenance issues that are not necessarily glamorous, but can become very secondary to dealing with snow and ice events.”

Things are a little different in Davenport. Last year they had five snow events where plows were deployed. This year so far it’s seen nine.

Public Works Director Nicole Gleason said the amount of snow during these events is less compared to last year, changing their strategy.

“If we’re treating the primary snow routes, and we know what’s going to melt in 24 hours, we’re not going to go into the residential,” Gleason said. “It would really just be a waste of resources, and we likely wouldn’t complete the effort before it melted anyway.”

Bettendorf deployed plows 14 times last year. This year they’ve deployed them 12 times.

According to Public Works Director Brian Schmidt, the smaller snowfalls also bring changes.

“Because of the size of these events have been relatively small this year, we were able to get all of our crews out and be able to attack all of our streets and achieve our policy of bare pavement within 24 hours,” Schmidt said.

Lighter snowfalls mean all three departments are spending less to upkeep their equipment.

In Moline, Schmidt said the blades on the plows aren’t seeing that much use.

“Even the normal wear items like the edge on the front of the plows, [I’m] not sure that we’ve had to replace any of those yet this year,” Schmidt said.

In terms of salt usage, all three cities are on track to use about the same as last year.

Of the three cities, only davenport has a snow emergency ordinance, so far this winter the city has yet to declare any.