Street and Stormwater
Phone: (270) 687-8680
We Keep Owensboro Moving!
Our mission is to maintain the streets, sidewalks, curbs and backyard drainage within the City of Owensboro. Our work helps to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life within the community. Our mission keeps us busy! We maintain over 225 miles of streets and curbs as well as 35 miles of ditches within the City. We also maintain over 10,000 signs and answer emergency calls 24 hours a day – 365 days each year. We use a small staff of 21 employees to accomplish all of our tasks. Our employees are highly skilled construction workers who can operate heavy equipment and detail finish concrete. We approach each job as if we were working on our own home. We strive to do the right thing at the right time to keep Owensboro moving!
City Ordinance No. 53-89, adopted 21-Nov-89, outlines Owensboro's rules for sign placement. These rules limit sign proliferation and help to provide a neat and clean community. Signs that are improperly placed are removed by City employees and stored at the Street Department for a period of two weeks before being discarded. In addition to disposing improperly placed private signs, we are charged with maintaining over 10,000 street signs and all of the street and curb painting throughout the City.
The Owensboro Street Department is responsible for keeping Owensboro moving - even during winter storms. Snow clearing is expensive - during light and medium level storms we prioritize and clear 109 of the City's 225 miles of streets. Heavy storms and snow emergencies may cause us to clear all streets within the City.
How did we select the streets to clear? We started with the busiest streets within the City and then added to these the connecting streets to:
- Police and Fire Stations
- Medical Facilities
- Nursing Homes
- Ambulance Service
- Public Utilities
- Largest Employers
- Major Shopping Areas
- Streets with significant hills and sharp turns
Anticipated or heavy snow and ice storms may cause the Mayor to declare a winter storm emergency. During a state of emergency, parking is prohibited on Priority 1 and 2 emergency routes; this will aid us in clearing these most important routes. During an emergency, vehicles parked on these streets may be towed at owner's expense and the owners may be fined. If tow vehicles are unavailable, our heavy equipment may be used to push your vehicle out of the way. See the map below to determine what streets are designated for no parking during a weather emergency.
Use this map to determine the closest cleared route to your start and destination points during winter storms. These routes are designated "snow routes" and may prohibit parking during snow emergencies. Routes in Red are cleared first, followed by routes in Green.
Varying amounts of snow and ice require different responses. We always keep an eye on the weather as forecasts may frequently change. Listed below are our standard responses to snowfall:
|Light Snow||0-3"||Salt||Priority 1&2 Streets|
|Medium Snow||3-5"||Plow/Salt||Priority 1&2 Streets|
|Heavy Snow||5" or more||Plow/Salt||Priority 1&2 Streets (Possibly all streets)|
Our employees and their equipment are ready to work 24 hours a day to clear city streets. In particularly heavy storm, the employees of the Sanitation and Facilities Maintenance Departments provide extra drivers and equipment for snow clean up.
When snow plow drivers clear residential streets, their plows will throw snow to the side and into driveways. There is no way to clear the street without this inconvenience.
Know the Right of Way
The public right of way is used by our road crews for storage of snow plowed from roadways and streets. It is not available for snow storage for individuals. The right-of-way varies in each subdivision; typically the right-of-way is approximately 6 inches behind the public sidewalk. If you have a question regarding the right-of-way location, please call the City of Owensboro Engineering office @ 687-8641.
Where to Store the Snow
What do you do with the snow from the driveways? Snow clearing contractors and private property owners should arrange to store snow in front yards outside the right-of-way and snow storage area), side yards or areas where the owner has given permission. Please use common courtesy to neighbors by not pushing or blowing snow onto their property. It is unlawful to pile snow in a manner that blocks or covers street signs, culvert inlets and outlets or other drainage structures.
Pushing Snow into Streets
Under no circumstances may snow be plowed or blown in a manner that interferes with snow removal operations, or with the public's normal use of roadways and streets. When removing snow from private property, regardless of the type of equipment used, no loose or packed snow shall be allowed to remain on the public roadway or street. Private Driveways and Entrances shall be the responsibility of the residential owner, occupant, community association, or business for snow removal. (To reduce the problem of snow being plowed back into driveways, snow should be shoveled into yards rather than into the street).
Hiring a Snow Removal Contractor
The following are ideas to protect you and your property:
- Get more than one (1) estimate. Prices can vary widely and are usually based on the amount of area to be cleared. Also take into consideration shoveling or blowing snow in other areas such as sidewalks. Remember, the least expensive service is not always the best service.
- Ask the contractor about additional charges and price options. Besides the quoted price, there are sometimes additional charges during large storms. After the snow reaches a certain depth, some snow removal contractors charge by the inch, so you'll want to find out how the company calculates the size of snowfall. Some companies offer a fixed price for an entire season, regardless of the amount of snow.
- Make sure you know what services you're getting. Find out exactly what's included in the estimate. Are the walks and steps included? What about the cost of salt? Will the company clear only after the storm, or during the snowfall as well? If the company has to come back, is there an additional charge?
- Ask for references and check them out.
- Do not settle on an agreement over the telephone! The contractor should provide you with a written agreement. A representative of the company should come out to examine the property and make notes about the service requested and potential obstacles. Before you sign the agreement, ask who is responsible for damages, such as cracked driveways, broken gates or damaged shrubbery.
- Verify that the contractor is insured and make sure any worker coming onto your property is covered by Workers' Compensation. I've been asked many times, "How does the contractor prove he has liability insurance and Workers' Compensation?" You can verify by receiving a copy of the contractors summary sheet page of their liability insurance. Regarding Workers' Compensation, you can get a copy of the contractor's Workers' Comp certificate, which includes an expiration date of coverage. If they don't have either of these items, then don't hire them.
- Find out how you can terminate the agreement if necessary.
Your expectations should be realistic. Keep in mind that a snowstorm makes traveling difficult for you and the contractor. During major snowfalls, workers are required to use more caution when plowing and traveling, therefore it may take longer for the contractor to reach you and do the contracted work.
Disclaimer/Indemnity: The City of Owensboro is not responsible for the acts and or omissions of private snow removal contractors, their employees, agents or representatives. To the fullest extent permitted by law, private snow removal contractors, it's subcontractors, whether employed directly or indirectly, shall defend, indemnify and hold harmless the City of Owensboro, their officials, agents, consultants, and employees, from all claims arising out of a private snow removal contractor's negligent acts or omissions for bodily injury and property damage which occur while the private snow removal contractor is physically on private property during work performance.
We are responsible for maintaining all of the street signs placed in the City. If you know of a sign that has been damaged, is faded or is otherwise in need of repair, please contact us.
Are you missing a sign? The link below will take you to a list of signs that have been collected and are being held at the City Street Department (1410 W. 5th Street). Signs may be collected on weekdays between 7:00am and 3:00pm before they are scheduled to be discarded. Click here to view the Removed Signs list.
Street and Curb Painting
Thousands of cars travel our streets and occasionally bump our curbs each day. If you know of a street or curb that needs painting, please contact us.
Our three person stormwater crew is responsible for over 35 miles of ditches within the City. The crew maintains, cleans and repairs ditches in order to keep water flowing freely so that local flooding is less likely to occur.
Routine maintenance helps to keep the water flowing. In the spring and fall we aim to cut every ditch within the City. During the summer months, we spray to control Johnson Grass and inspect all of our ditches.
On an as-needed basis, we clean debris from our ditches. Fallen trees, litter and leaves are all on our list for removal. Mud and silt are "mucked out" to help keep the water flowing freely.
Some of our older ditches need greater care. Crews are often engaged in re-grading and rebuilding of our ditches where erosion has taken its toll. Our crews have also become experts at cutting new ditches.
You can help us limit local flooding by following these guidelines:
- No Debris in the Street. City Ordinance 29-99 prohibits raking or blowing leaves, grass or other debris into the street. This material may reach our storm drains and contribute to local flooding.
- Vegetation. Keep the grass on your ditch banks trimmed back to where it meets your neighbors property.
- Remove Trash and Debris. Take the time to pull trash and debris out of ditches and never use ditches for illegal dumping of trash or vegetation.
Clean streets are a priority in Owensboro. That's why the Owensboro Street Department contracts with a private company to sweep our streets on a regular basis. While many cities have cut sweeping from their budgets to save funds, Owensboro remains committed to a clean city and spends $183,764 per year on the service.
Street sweeping is about more than good looks. Sweeping removes debris from the streets and curbs that could contribute to flooding if washed into our sewer system. Sweeping also helps control water pollution by keeping dust and debris out of the Ohio River.
Our contract calls for sweeping the busy downtown area and major thoroughfares twice per month. All remaining streets are swept twice per year. We also sweep after major festivals and parades are conducted.
You can help us to keep Owensboro clean by following these guidelines:
- Park off the Street: Whenever possible, park vehicles off of the street. This allows our machine to sweep curb to curb.
- Remove Obstructions: Obstructions such as basketball goals or trailers can block sweeping; please remove from the street.
- Trash Cans: Remove mobile carts from the streets as soon as possible; on the same day of service.
- No Debris: City Ordinance prohibits placing debris, such as leaves, grass or bushes in the street.
- No Children: Please keep children away from sweeper. Playing in the street is dangerous!