[infobox color=”#fff1c1″ textcolor=”#000000″]Winter Maintenance Mission Statement: Establish and promote Best Management Practices for Winter Maintenance that minimize deterioration to Buildings, Infrastructure and the Environment without Compromising Safety.[/infobox]

University of Michigan Winter Maintenance Overview

Need snow removed? Please fill out the Snow Removal Request form.

We will either contact you or take care of the snow removal as soon as possible.

For after hours emergencies: Call the Facilities Service Center 647-2059.
Note: This service is available to U-M Ann Arbor campus departments and housing only.

Facilities and Operations Winter Maintenance
Sustainability and Best Management Practices

Facilities and Operations led by Grounds Services has reduced its salt and sand use by 50% since the mid 1990’s. This milestone has been achieved by leveraging technology, using alternative materials and methods as well as additional calibration and operator training.

F&O uses liquid deicing material on sidewalks instead of the traditional granular products when the weather conditions allow. By using liquid deicing material, the crews are better able to place the proper amount of salt necessary for the conditions. F&O currently has 22 liquid application units to cover all sidewalks and plazas. F&O will continue to use our 2 brine makers to manufacture 23.3% salt brine derived from standard, untreated road salt. The 23% Salt Brine is mixed with Caliber M-1000 which is a 30% concentration of magnesium chloride brine blended with an engineered agricultural byproduct. This product has corrosion inhibiting properties and a low eutectic temperature. We mix the two at a 90% Salt Brine and 10% M-1000 ratio. The added M-1000 not only lowers the temperature at which you can apply but also acts as a sticker/spreader to hold it in place before the storm which is a practice known as anti-icing.

Anti-icing practices improve the level of service and reduce total salt use by applying a small amount of liquid salt to the paved surface before the storm which reduces the chance of snow and ice bonding to the pavement. This allows for better mechanical removal thus reducing deicing chemical needed. Areas designated for anti-icing/deicing treatments are sprayed with rates of application outlined in the F&O “Operations Matrix”. Anti-icing products are applied to paved surfaces ahead of an approaching storm when forecasts indicate there is a 50% probability of precipitation or other factors that may lead to slippery conditions for pedestrians and motorists.

Each winter storm event our crews focus on removing accumulated snow on sidewalks and plazas using equipment with plow and rotary broom attachments. Rotary brooms are the best method to mechanically remove snow and ice from pavement. The campus has over 165 miles of sidewalks to maintain with 30 designated and mapped equipment routes. Our campus is divided into 5 geographic zones. Each zone has a designated crew that has been trained on the priority locations within the zone. Once walks and plazas are cleared, the crews focus on moving snow using snow blower attachments, buckets and blades along sidewalk edges and plazas that could potentially melt and refreeze. F&O salt-spreading trucks have ground speed control equipment installed. Ground speed control and the associated in-cab computer system enable the operator to make precise applications regardless of vehicle speed. Additionally, F&O staff can download actual material application data from these vehicles in real time. These vehicles are equipped with pavement and ambient air temperature sensors. This information is useful to operators for understanding what is occurring at the pavement surface and how to best manage resources.

Alternative granular deicing products continue to be evaluated for effectiveness, non-corrosive properties, ease of application, and cost. F&O staff will use materials deemed least damaging to University facilities and the environment without compromising safety or performance.

Campus facilities continue to be evaluated for the potential to close certain areas of campus for maintenance purposes. Provided that customer convenience is not overly compromised, closure of
non-essential areas reduces maintenance costs, speeds up reaction time, reduces potential exposure to liability, and reduces the overall use of chemical deicers.

Facilities and Operations will continue to test innovative ways to improve service as well as reduce salt use by leveraging new technology and implementing new strategies.


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