Hillsborough, NJ 08844
379 South Branch Road
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Hillsborough Township is busy preparing for the upcoming snow season. With the first storm of the season upon us, our crews are diligently working to keep the roads clear and safe for motorists. Please remember to leave ample space between you and the car in front of you when traveling and adhere to the following safety guidelines.
The Township of Hillsborough’s Public Works Department operates and maintains the infrastructure of the Township’s two hundred and fifty plus miles of roadway, maintains all municipal grounds and buildings and Township Open Space. The Department works closely with the Police Department in monitoring road and safety conditions in the Township, and responds to emergencies as needed.
Hillsborough Township's maintenance crews work hard to keep Township roads drivable through changing winter conditions. The intensity, timing and duration of each winter event is different and response is adapted to address variables including type of precipitation, air and pavement temperature, traffic, wind, and time of day.
Hillsborough Township's Department of Public Works (HTDPW) crews remove snow and ice from roadways as efficiently as possible while working to keep roads open and essential traffic moving. The aim of HTDPW storm response is to return road surfaces to normal winter conditions as soon as is feasible, targeting one pass on all roads within 36 hours of the conclusion of the event. With proper use of storm forecasts, personnel, equipment, and materials, the desired result can usually be attained. However, flexibility is needed to adapt to the variety of circumstances and possible change in weather conditions.
Clearing and Protecting Roadways
Please note, Hillsborough Township Public Works is responsible for clearing snow and ice from over 500 plus lane miles of public streets in the Township. With the exception of emergency requests from police dispatchers, individual requests for snow removal cannot be taken.
Combating Hazardous Road Conditions
The Department of Public works utilizes a variety of methods for combating hazardous road conditions, including sodium chloride, or better known as rock salt, as the solid anti-icing material that is wet with either liquid calcium chloride solution or salt brine to enhance the melting capability of the rock salt. Anti-icing is a proactive approach to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the road surface by using timely applications of a chemical freeze point suppressant. The Hillsborough Township Department of Public Works uses approximately 3,000 tons of salt, annually. The salt is housed on-site in our Salt Barn.
The original salt dome was built in 1982 and housed 665 tons of salt to treat 100 miles of Township roadways. The original salt dome roof was replaced in 2001 by in-house crews, however, by this time it was evident a larger structure was needed to meet the growing community. In 2009 funding was acquired to construct a new salt dome and construction began in 2010.
The new building was constructed to house 3,000 tons of salt to protect the traveling public on the then 440 lane miles of roadways during the winter months. The barn is a Hi-Arch Gambrel Building that prevents unnecessary weather exposure, double handling of material and ensures the material is dry and ready to go when it is needed to treat the roadways. Runoff from outdoor piles can damage ground water, surface water, wells, soils and vegetation. Housing salt indoors prevents this type of runoff and is better for the environment.
Today the department's average season usage is 3,000 tons of salt. The original salt dome is still utilized for treated salt which is used to treat the western section of Hillsborough Township where there is less vehicle traffic and temperatures are often lower than other areas of the Township.
What is treated salt?
Treated salt is rock salt that is treated with magnesium chloride. Magnesium chloride is a powerful salt that lowers the freezing temperature of snow and winter mixtures. It is activated when combined with moisture and can be applied wet as a prewetting treatment or with a salt spreader. By spraying it on roadways before a storm it helps prevent snow from sticking and forming ice and when applied during a storm it activates when vehicles drive over it melting the winter precipitation on the roadway. This means that the roads stay safe and free from black ice.
What Is Salt Brine?
Salt brine is water saturated with sodium chloride, or more simply, rock salt dissolved in water. It is part of the Hillsborough Township Public Works anti-icing program that takes a proactive approach to controlling snow and ice on Township roadways.
Why Does Public Works Use Salt Brine?
Salt brine allows the Public Works crews to be proactive and get a jump-start on winter storms. This means that crews can have main roads pretreated before the driving conditions decline and the snow and ice will be prevented from bonding to the pavement which is the main purpose of the anti-icing program. As a result, the roads return to bare pavement much quicker once the storm has ended.
When Is Salt Brine Used?
Salt Brine is used in two ways:
Anti-icing is a snow fighting strategy used in anticipation of road / bridge frost or winter storms. Salt brine can prevent frost for up to three days. If applied just before a winter storm, salt brine will begin working as soon as the first snowflake falls and will delay the accumulation of snow and ice on the pavement.
Once a winter storm is in progress, salt brine is sprayed onto the rock salt as it is applied to accelerate the melting of the snow and ice. This process activates the rock salt and helps it stay on the pavement instead of bouncing off the roadway. Pre-wetting with salt brine in this manner helps reduce the amount of rock salt that Hillsborough Township Public Works must use overall.
How is Salt Brine Applied to the Road When Anti-Icing?
Residents can expect to see the Hillsborough Township Public Works crews pre-treating the roads with salt brine using units that slide into the back of a typical plow truck.
What Should I Do When Following A Vehicle Applying Salt Brine?
Vehicles applying salt brine usually travel at speeds less than 35 miles per hour. Motorists should stay back at least 500 feet from the vehicle.
Concern for motorist safety dictates that HTDPW first serves the roads with high traffic volumes and speeds. When plows are on the road, it's important to follow these safety tips:
Maintain a Safe Distance: Snowplows are large and operators cannot see directly behind the truck.
Snowplows travel at a slower speed; the most common crashes are motorists hitting the rear end of the plow. Stay alert and watch for a plow’s amber strobe lights.
Many plows are equipped with a wing plow: a 6-8 foot extension on the right-hand side of the plow. The wing is difficult to see and can do damage to a passing car.
Be sure the road ahead is clear of vehicles or snowdrifts before attempting to pass on the left. A snow cloud could be caused by crosswinds or a snowplow, so be patient!
Plow trucks also spread salt and deicing agents, and these can spray your car. Maintain a safe distance between your car and the plow truck and be extremely cautious before passing on the left.
Plan It Safe - Winter Driving Tips
Winter driving presents its own challenges. Planning ahead for travel delays and icy roads requires special attention and a little extra time can make all the difference. Below are some tips and precautions to get you safely off on your way.
Before you hit the road, be sure to check the road conditions. A good source is 511nj.org or by downloading the SafeTripNJ app, available for both iphones and android phones.
Be sure to check your fuel, tires, fluids and winterize your car with fresh antifreeze, and a good battery that can withstand cold weather temperatures. Always do a pre-trip inspection to make sure your vehicle is in good condition to start your journey.
A few items you may want to pack as a safety precaution are: a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, small shovel, small tool kit, sand or cat litter for traction, blankets, extra gloves, socks, hats and rain gear-brightly colored, bottled water, any necessary medication and non-perishable food.
If you can postpone your travel until roads have been plowed or treated it will lessen your chances of sliding off the road or having an accident. It is also harder for snow plow drivers to plow around disabled and abandoned vehicles.
Once you're on the road, remember to always wear your seat belt. Slow down and adjust your speed to the road conditions, watch for other vehicles having problems with road conditions, keep your mirrors, windows and lights clean and make sure your lights are working and are on. Your fuel tank should be at least half full. Make sure you give snowplows ample room to do their job and do not pass them. And finally if you don’t feel comfortable driving, pull off in a safe place and wait for conditions to clear.
If you happen to become trapped in your car, stay in the vehicle and alert others to your situation by hanging a brightly colored cloth on the antenna or placing a sign in the window and calling for help if you need it. To conserve fuel you should only run the engine for about 10 minutes an hour and keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow. Make sure your phone is charged when you are running the car. You can open the window slightly for ventilation.
Play It Safe - Keeping Kids Safe During Winter Storms
Snow days are fun for kids but it is important to follow some simple rules to keep them safe. Please remember plows trucks are big and the drivers can not always see you. Their field of view is limited, especially during a snowstorm and in hazardous conditions. Following are some safety tips to keep you and your children safe while truck drivers are out clearing the roadways.
Stake Your Yard - Up Your Winter yard Protection With Reflective Yard Stakes
With winter upon us, reflective yard stakes are one way you can help protect your yard from damage and help motorists see where the edge of the road is. Stakes can be found at many hardware and home improvement stores. Place them approximately one (1) foot from the edge of the road along your property line. Stakes provide the perfect guide for snow plow drivers and motorists until snow banks are formed. Your yard will thank you come spring.
Keeping Your Driveway Clear - Helpful Tips For Plowing Your Driveway
Hillsborough Township’s top priority in a snowstorm is plowing the over 500 miles of Township roadways, which may require several trips down the same route.
Snow plowed from roads could end up blocking private driveways for some time. Hillsborough Township recognizes the inconvenience this causes, but because of limited time and resources, plows can only clear private driveways at the request of local emergency officials.
To reduce the amount of snow that might block your driveway, shovel an open area along the shoulder at the entrance (see illustration below). Plow blades will then push snow into the area just before your driveway, leaving a much smaller amount in front of it.
Ordinance Number 197-2 Basketball hoops should NOT be placed in the street or left along the curb line as they can present a hazard to our vehicles. Place garbage cans and recycling buckets behind the curb or at the end of your driveway and NOT in the roadway.
It is illegal for residents or any unauthorized personnel to plow snow, ice or slush onto or across roadways because it can present a serious traffic hazard! Residents are responsible for the removal of ridges left by snowplows to allow passage into their private property. It is also the homeowners responsibility to make sure there is access to their mailbox. We do not intentionally plow in driveways or mailboxes and can not accommodate requests to clear your property. Vehicles may slide or lose control if they hit a patch of ice or snow dropped by a private plow or snow blower.
Reminder to All Residents Parking is Prohibited on Snow Covered Roads§ 143-21 Designation of snow emergency no-parking areas.
Pursuant to the provisions of § 143-21, no person shall park a vehicle upon either side of any of the streets or parts of streets thereof listed below whenever snow has fallen and the accumulation is such that it covers the street or highway.
Mailboxes must comply with regulations outlined by the United States Postal Service and residents are responsible for snow removal around their mailbox. Mailboxes set back from the edge of the road will require the property owner to remove accumulated ice/snow to allow for mail delivery.
Residents are encouraged to take advantage of mild conditions and “Shake Your Mailbox”. Give the mailbox an aggressive shake; if the mailbox moves, it most likely needs maintenance to withstand the winter season and storm response efforts.
Hillsborough Township DPW investigates each complaint regarding a mailbox damaged during snow removal. If an inspection shows that the mailbox was hit by a plow or other Hillsborough Township DPW equipment, Hillsborough Township DPW will replace the broken mailbox and/or post. However, if damage was caused by thrown ice or snow coming off of the plow, mailbox repair is the responsibility of the property owner. We do not fix leaning mailboxes. Residents are encouraged to make temporary repairs to damaged mailboxes, and Hillsborough Township DPW will make repairs, if applicable, after all storm clean-up is complete. Mailbox posts that are loose in the ground are the residents responsibility to secure. Only mailboxes that are broken will be repaired. All mailbox repair/replacement requests must be received by June 1st of each year.
Frequently Asked Questions and General Information - FAST FACS
Q: When does Hillsborough Township begin snowplowing?
A: Snow plows typically start the plowing process after 3 inches of snow has fallen.
Q: What should I do when I come up to the snow clearing crew in a vehicle?
A: Be Careful. Pass only when necessary and with extreme caution. Remember snow clearing has not occurred in front of the equipment.
Q: Who is responsible for removing the ridge of snow that the plow left behind in my driveway?
A: You are. Residents are responsible for the removal of such ridges to allow passage into their private property. Please adhere to Ordinance No. 197-2 and not blow or plow any snow into the roadway.
See Keeping Your Driveway Clear page 13.
Q: Will Hillsborough Township open the access to our property?
A: No, this is the residents responsibility to perform this activity themselves or hire a contractor if they are unable to.
Q: What kind of criteria does Hillsborough Township use to classify roads on a priority scale?
A: The priority is set, based on traffic volume, traffic speed, steepness of road grade, susceptibility to icing, etc.
Q: Will Hillsborough Township clear the snow away from my mailbox?
A: No. It's the homeowners responsibility to make sure there's access to their mailbox.
Q: What types of material does Hillsborough Township use to perform winter maintenance?
A: The Hillsborough Township Public Works Department uses sodium chloride or better known as rock salt as the solid anti-icing material that is wetted with either liquid calcium chloride solution or salt brine to enhance the melting capability of the rock salt. Salt is not used on non-pavement roads, sand is used as an alternative solution for the dirt roads/lanes.
Q: What is anti-icing?
A: Anti-icing is a proactive approach to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the road surface by using timely applications of a chemical freeze point suppressant.
Q: Does Hillsborough Township pre-treat the roads (anti-icing)?
A: Yes. Hillsborough Township has the capability to pre-treat all the township's main roads. This application could remain on the road surface for up to several days depending on the amount of traffic and weather conditions.
Q: Can I leave my basketball hoop on the road or at the curb?
A: No. Basketball hoops should not be placed in the street or left along the curb line as they can present a hazard to our vehicles.
See Roadway Obstructions, page 13.
Q: What should I do if it is going to snow and I have to put out my garbage/recycling can?
A: Place the buckets/cans behind the curb or at the end of your driveway and NOT in the roadway.
See Roadway Ordinances page 14.
Q: If I have any questions or concerns regarding Hillsborough Township's Snow and Ice Control Program who do I contact?
A: You can call the Public Works Department at 908-369-4313, prompt 6.
Thank you for your support. Your friends at Hillsborough Township Department of Public Works.