Snow Removal

Snow removal is a vital service. Please do not interfere with snow plows by parking on the streets, following too closely, passing unsafely or blocking intersections. Do not follow closely as we make frequent stops and turns. If you can’t see our mirror, we can’t see you! If a plow stops, please use caution when passing, as we may be turning in any direction or backing up.

The Ela Township Highway Department has been able to reduce the amount of salt that has been spread on the roads without compromising the safety of the residents. This has made a positive impact on environment, the cars on the streets, as well as saving the township tax dollars.

This has been accomplished by installing computers in the plow trucks to monitor salt spreading and using anti-icing agents commonly known as “super mix,” a relatively new mixture of 70 percent salt brine, 20 percent beet juice and 10 percent chloride. This mix is used in a wide range of temperatures and activates the salt much quicker. It also is used to wet the calcium chloride before snow plows drop it on the ground and it maximizes the use of the mixture. Thirty percent more material is left on the street and not in the ditches because the mixture is heavier and doesn’t bounce off. This is also a cost savings as salt has become more expensive in the last few years.

For those of you who walk your dogs in the road, this mix is pet friendly and will not damage the the pads of their paws.

Roads and subdivisions maintained by Ela Township:

Echo Lake Road; N. Lakewood Road; John Court, Gabriel Drive; Sacamano Court; Miller Road; Del Court; Indian Trail Road; Ivy Lane; Dartmouth Lane; Columbia Court; Woodbury Court; August Lane; Anna Court; Old McHenry Court; Hazelcrest Road; Rand Court; Plum Grove Road and Shirley Road, along with the subdivisions of Echo Lake, Forest Lake, Long Meadows Farm, Indian Meadows, Hillside Estates, Abbey Glenn, Lochanora and Valentine Manor. Ela Township also plows township buildings and parking lots, Lake Zurich Fire Station 4 and  the Village of Deer Park. Gilmer, Old McHenry and Fairfield roads are plowed by Lake County, while Midlothian Road, Route 12 (Rand Road) and Route 22 are the responsibility of the state.

Commonly Asked Questions About Snowplowing:

When are streets plowed?

Plowing generally begins when snow is more than one-inch deep and freezing temperatures indicate that the snow will not melt.

Why does the highway department use road salt?

Salting prevents melting snow from turning to ice. If ice forms, it bonds to the pavement and is very difficult to remove. The highway department uses salt wisely, salting only when an icing condition occurs, the snow depth is one inch or less, and after the snow subsides so the salt has time to work.

Why is snow piled on my corner?

Snow that accumulates across side roads and street corners needs to be pushed onto the corner to allow cars to turn. The snow is pushed back onto the corner in the direction the truck is traveling so some corners may get more snow than others. Snow piled at a street corner is of particular concern where there are school bus stops. If the snow accumulates at a bus stop, children may have to move up the street to board the bus. Please instruct children not to climb on the piles that have accumulated at the corners. If a snow pile on a particular corner becomes a sight distance problem, please call the highway department.

Why isn’t my street plowed more quickly?

Our large snow plows typically concentrate first on major streets within a particular subdivision. Once these are plowed, the trucks move to the secondary streets. Routes are laid out logically and efficiently to save fuel and salt. In general it takes each truck four to five hours to clear its route. However, if there is a heavy, sustained storm, the truck may have to make many passes to keep roads passable. The specific time your street is plowed can also be affected by an occasional truck breakdown or the number of cul-de-sac streets in your area as they are very time consuming to clear, taking between 20 and 30 minutes each.

Why is snow left at the end of my driveway?

There is no practical way for the snow plow operator to cut off the wind row of snow when crossing a driveway. This problem is especially acute on cul-de-sacs, which are very confined spaces that require the snow to be placed along the outside of the circle. The problem is compounded by the fact that homeowners must clear their driveways, which places large piles of snow on the corners of the drives. However, our goal is to maintain as much of the normal pavement width as possible and to allow access to mailboxes by postal carriers. To reduce the amount of snow that is plowed in front of your driveway, blow or shovel the snow to the right side of your drive as you face the street. This reduces the chance of snow previously removed from being pushed back onto your drive. This suggestion, however, may not work in cul-de-sacs that have driveway openings placed close together.

What else can I do to help?

  • Please do not shovel or blow snow back into the street after it has been plowed and salted. Snow that is deposited on the street can refreeze and cause hazardous conditions for you or your neighbors.
  • When it starts to snow, park your vehicle off the street. This protects it from being splashed with slush and salt, and prevents it from being plowed in.
  • Check that your mailbox and post are in good repair and that they are behind the curb, not leaning out over the street.
  • If there is a fire hydrant in front of your home, clear the snow around it. It is there for your protection and that of your neighbors.
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