Permits and Policies
The Department maintains approximately 200 miles of paved and 800 miles of gravel roads. Counties are responsible for almost four times more road miles than state, city and towns combined. The Clinton County Secondary Road Department takes the safety of the traveling public and road clearing responsibilities seriously. We realize that many rural residents work in nearby towns and lost time on the job is a financial hardship to the family and that livestock farmers must have access to care for their animals on a regular basis. Also, some county residents have special medical needs that require special access requirements.
The majority of snow clearing is done during the daylight hours. Typically, crews will not be working between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. but crews may respond to emergency situations as requested by law enforcement or rescue units. Clinton County does not have enough employees to be able to work in rotating shifts which allows 24-hour per day operation the way that state and many city crews function. Due to the large number of county road miles and the isolated nature of many roads, the safest and most efficient operation is during the day. The paved road system is normally plowed after snow has fallen and the wind is low enough so that drifting doesn’t undo what has been accomplished. The gravel road system is plowed to open one lane of traffic as soon as possible/practical after a snowstorm, which causes accumulation of at least 3-4 inches of snow.
The truck plows first assignment is to open the paved roadways and apply salt and sand to the surface. Salt is used to improve driving conditions and is mostly effective when air temperatures are warmer than fifteen degrees. The material is typically not used on gravel roads since it would melt the road base and create a soft unstable road.
The first assignment for motor graders is to open the heavier traveled gravel roads and roads traveled by school buses. Their second priority is to provide access from at least one direction to all residences, followed by establishing two-way traffic on roads. Finally, the connecting gravel roads are cleared to provide more direct travel between destinations. Level B and C service roads and dirt roads continue to be the lowest priority and often are not cleared if there are no homes or livestock operations that require access.