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Inclement Weather

The City of Austell has established the following policies and procedures for winter and inclement weather road maintenance.

Section 1: Policy Objectives.

1. Objective

The City of Austell seeks to provide timely, efficient, and cost effective winter maintenance, tree removal, and ice control for the residents of the City of Austell and the general motoring public.

2. Procedure

The objective stated in Section 1 may be best achieved by implementation and execution of the procedures and tasks outline in Section 2 of this policy, Winter Operations Tree Removal and Ice Control. Due to the many variables that are inherent in Georgia’s weather and its surrounding regions, each storm or weather event may require slightly different effort or emphasis on any number of maintenance tasks which, together, determine the overall winter maintenance, tree removal, or ice control strategy.

3. Level of Service

It is not reasonably possible to maintain ice-free roads during any storm. The City of Austell intends to utilize its best efforts, within the means available, to provide practical, safe access to homes, businesses, and municipal facilities during and after winter storms.

The following shall apply:

a. As a general policy, the City of Austell will begin spreading sand, salt, or a combination of both (or other alternative compounds) on bridges and overpasses upon accumulation of one inch of snowfall provided temperatures are expected to drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, as forecasted by the National Weather Center.

b. Pre-treatment and ice control may be implemented prior to, during, or after a storm, as determined to be most effective, noting that salt has a much slower effect on melting snow and ice at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and thus may not be applied until it is warmer.

c. No winter sidewalk maintenance will be provided. The City shall not be liable for any falls caused due to snow or ice on sidewalks.

4. Command

The Director of Austell Public Works or the Assistant Director of Austell Public Works shall direct all winter maintenance activities for the City of Austell.

5. Execution

This policy, including the standard operating procedure, is intended to serve as the normal procedure for winter maintenance and ice control for the City of Austell. One or more of the following, which may delay or prevent the implementation of this policy, may affect all or any part of normal operating procedures.

  • Equipment Breakdown
  • Personal Illness
  • Traffic Congestion
  • Freezing Rain or Other Icing Conditions
  • Emergencies
  • Snow Accumulation in Excess of One Inch per Hour

Section 2. Winter Operations Tree Removal and Ice Control Procedures. 

1. Equipment and Personnel

The assets available for ice control are established with the parameters of the annual operating budget established and approved by the City of Austell Mayor and City Council. In formulating the budget, the City of Austell seeks to allocate sufficient funds for this purpose, but variable weather conditions may make subject projections inaccurate. When weather conditions require additional funds beyond those available in the approved budget, the City of Austell will undertake such actions as are reasonably necessary to address such conditions. The City of Austell is bound by law to follow certain legal requirements and procedures that may delay immediate availability of funds for responses. The Austell Public Works Street Division utilizes all available assets of the Department as needed to address winter emergencies. The Street Division has sufficient personnel available for winter maintenance operations.

2. Routes

Salting routes may be altered from time to time for more efficient ice removal and/or cost efficiencies.

3. Materials

Sand is used as an abrasive and is applied to the road to improve traction for motor vehicles. Salt is used as a de-icing and anti-icing agent. The sand and salt mix is stockpiled at the Austell Public Works facility. Rock salt is purchased from local vendors as needed. Unless weather conditions require a different approach, winter maintenance routes are treated with a mixture of sand and salt, generally with a minimum amount of salt to prevent freezing of the mixture. The mixture may be adjusted according to the nature of the storm with additional salt added if needed. The mixture is applied to traveled roadways. At the beginning and at the conclusion of a storm, salt may also be applied to the center of the paved roads where traffic can work the salt traveling either way. The salt, in conjunction with traffic action, creates a watery brine melting snow and ice, and resisting snow and ice packing on the roadway. The road crown further assists with the spreading of the brine mixture. The sand/salt mixture as well as salt itself, is only effective to approximately 32 degree Fahrenheit. Other de-icing agents are effective to lower temperatures, but cost and need for specialized equipment have forestalled their use at this time.

Highway salt and sand supplies are for City of Austell owned roadways only. An agreement may be executed by Cobb County and/or the Georgia Department of Transportation for mutual aid.

4. Communications

The majority of the Austell Public Works employees are equipped with Nextel two-way radios. Each equipment operator is assigned a unique call number, and each operator may communicate with the City’s Police and 911 Department. All operators are aware of the importance of their radio and maintain their operations and communication during a storm.

5. Schools

a. Maintenance

The City of Austell is not responsible for the clearing of snow and/or ice from any Cobb County School District roads or parking lots. On days when school is in session, winter maintenance efforts may be timed to coincide with bus routing and delivery of students to the extent reasonably practicable.

b. School Cancellation

The Cobb County School District’s Superintendent, or his or her designated representative, may contact Austell Public Works to determine the condition of the roads within the City of Austell in order to determine the advisability of students being transported by school buses. The school representative shall make the decision to cancel or postpone school for that day.

6. Parking

The City of Austell has adopted winter parking regulations. There shall be no parking on any City roads that creates any traffic congestion such as double parking on narrow streets. This will allow winter maintenance crews to maintain unobstructed ice routes with maximum effectiveness.

7. Route Priorities

With a total of approximately 52 miles of roads within the City of Austell, the Austell Public Works Street Division has to assign priorities for winter maintenance route activity in order to maximize the effectiveness of its efforts.

a. City Streets

All major roadways[1] in the City of Austell will be given first priority for winter maintenance; all other roads (secondary) will be maintained if materials and time permits. The timing of maintenance on some routes may coincide with the bus routes with the intent to provide sand and salt spreading to be done within one hour of the regular bus schedule for that route.

b. Fire Department and Public Parking for City Offices

Areas will be treated with skid resistant materials and will be applied as needed.

8. Roads and Sidewalks Not Receiving Winter Maintenance

The City of Austell does not maintain a number of roadways and sidewalks as part of its ongoing winter maintenance activities. These following areas are not maintained by the City of Austell include:

  • Subdivision roads and sidewalks
  • Private roads, driveways, and sidewalks
  • Roads, sidewalks, and other areas maintained or within the jurisdiction of the State of Georgia, Federal, or County government.

All pedestrians are urged to use caution while walking on any sidewalk covered with ice and/or snow.

9. Damage to Private Property

a. The City of Austell assumes no responsibility of damage to private property or personal injury resulting from said personal property that is located or within the public right-of-way such as property deemed an encumbrance that is not permitted to be located in the right-of-way. The right-of-way is often 50 feet wide and is often mistaken by property owners as their own property. In more cases, the right-of-way often extends 10 feet to 20 feet (sometimes even more) to either side of the paved surface of the road. Homeowners often cultivate lawns, place mailboxes, or erect fences or stonewalls in these areas, which improves the appearance of the road greatly, but also may obstruct or interfere with maintenance activities being conducted on the roadway, including winter maintenance.

b. In the event of personal property damage occurring as a result of winter maintenance activities conducted by the City of Austell, the City may be held responsible only if damages arising from the negligence or other fault is properly attributed to the City. The City will not be responsible for the repair or replacement of damaged property, with no exception.

c. The City of Austell shall not be responsible for damage to any vehicle which may be damaged during winter maintenance if the vehicle is parked in violation of any State of Georgia laws or local regulation(s), including any winter or ice removal parking limitation periods.

10. Placement of Snow in Right-of-Way

No snow is to be shoveled, blown, plowed, or placed, by any means, onto any City of Austell street, sidewalk, or across roadways to the opposite side snow banks.

11. Roadway Obstructions

If any pedestrian, vehicle, or other item interferes with snow removal operations, City of Austell staff will seek the cooperation of the owner to remove it immediately. If the owner cannot be readily located or if the owner refuses to cooperate, City staff will contact the Austell Police Department for assistance.

12. Snow Removal from City Streets

Any vehicle that violates the winter parking regulations is subject to ticketing and towing. Any vehicle which otherwise interferes with the reasonable efforts of the City of Austell’s winter maintenance policy is subject to removal after a reasonable attempt to notify the owner.

13. Law Enforcement Notification

In the event of any vehicle obstruction and/or damage, the Austell Police Department shall be notified.

Section 3. Approval.

1. Notice

This policy shall be posted in appropriate public places in the City of Austell, including the City’s website and other electronic means of communication. All residents and businesses are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the contents specified in this policy as it describes conditions that one might encounter before, during, and after a winter storm event.

2. Adoption

The City of Austell Mayor and City Council has adopted these policies encompassing standard operating procedures this 7th day of February 2011.


[1] Major Roadways include: Austell-Powder Springs Road; C.H. James Parkway (maintained by Georgia Department of Transportation); Dr. Luke Glenn Garrett, Jr. Memorial Highway (maintained by Georgia Department of Transportation); Garrett Road (maintained by Cobb County Department of Transportation); Hiram-Lithia Springs Road (maintained by Cobb County Department of Transportation); Humphries Hill Road, Joe Jerkins Boulevard; Love Street; Maxham Road (maintained by Cobb County Department of Transportation); Mulberry Street; Old Marietta Road; Perkerson Mill Road; and Veterans Memorial Highway (maintained by Georgia Department of Transportation)