Snow removal team clears more than 80 miles of roads, sidewalks
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

When it snows on the University of Iowa campus, the snow removal team goes to great lengths to make things safe for faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

UI Facilities Management Landscape Services clears approximately 50 miles of sidewalks and 36 lane-miles of institutional roads across campus, and removes snow from the entrances and stairways of more than 80 buildings. The snow removal team includes 46 Landscape Services staff and eight volunteer staff from other facilities departments. Staff sometimes report early to work, often in the middle of the night, or stay long after their regular work shift ends to complete the job.

Landscape Services deploys an arsenal of tools in its battle against the snow and ice: two front-end loaders on services drives and parking lots; nine skid loaders and four converted mowers (Polar Trac machines) on sidewalks; and six pickup trucks and two large snow plows on the streets, loading docks, and parking lots.

landscape services staff clearing snow
The snow removal team is responsible for clearing approximately 50 miles of sidewalks on the UI campus. Photo by Justin Torner.

Electric snow melt systems have been installed beneath some building entrances, steps, and ADA ramps to help prevent slip hazards. These systems are located at the Dental Science Building, Main Library, Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building, Medical Education Research Facility, Visual Arts Building, Field House, Pappajohn Business Building, Lindquist Center, and the Engineering Annex.

In 2010, Landscape Services began using an environmentally friendly mixture of salt infused with beet juice on pavement near building entrances and stairways. The product performs about 30 percent better than rock salt alone, reducing the number of applications and quantity needed. In addition to being effective against snow and ice, it also helps to reduce corrosion of concrete and damage to vegetation.

UI weather policy available online

Whenever possible, the University of Iowa continues to function during inclement weather and follows its Extreme Weather Protocol. However, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to use good judgment and avoid serious risks in traveling to campus or in attending classes. Notifications will go out if classes are canceled. For more details, see the UI Operations Manual.