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Equipment and Processes information

This section contains information on some of the specialized equipment that is used to maintain the city streets at various times of the year.

Click on the words to link to images.

Street Sweeper

Snow Plow Trucks

Snow Blower

Brine Making

Brine Distributor Truck


Street Sweeper Broom Images

Gutter Broom  gutter-broom

main-pickup-broom  Main Pick-Up Broom

Sweeping Operations

sweeping-operations-front  sweeping-operations-rear

Snow Plow Trucks

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 snow-plow-truck-side-view  snow-plow-truck-front-view

Plow Blade


The snow plow blade is equipped with a hardened steel cutting edge. This wears down over about 24 hours of plowing and is replaced with a new edge. The blade has a spring loaded bottom section that trips when it strikes an obstacle such as a manhole or railroad track. This reduces the impact the plow mount and truck.







The truck is equipped with a hopper that dispenses salt or a sand/salt mixture. The rate of application is paced off the speed of the truck. The material is fed by a conveyor belt to a chute at the rear of the hopper. The material drops on a spinning plate that throws it horizontally behind the truck.



Brine Tank



The truck carries approximately 150 gallons of brine. The brine is a mixture of salt and water. The brine is applied to the salt as it falls from the conveyor belt to the spinner. Wetted salt is a much more effective deicer that non-wetted salt.


warning-lights Warning Lights

The rear of the truck is equipped with flashing warning lights. A truck that is plowing snow or spreading salt/sand will often drive slower than other traffic and drivers should pass with caution. When the truck is spreading salt or sand it is discharged directly behind and to both sides of the truck.

Snow Chains

snow-chainsThe trucks are equipped with automatic snow chains, which are located inside the rear wheels. If the trucks lose traction, the driver can lower the chains which are thrown under the rear wheels as they turn. They provide additional traction that helps the truck to maneuver on slick roads. Under normal conditions, the chains remain in the up position. If conventional chains are used, they tend to wear out in 24 hours, but automatic chains can last an entire winter season.



Control Panels

control-panelsThe spreader and plow are controlled, by the operator, using special electronic controls located in the cab of the truck. The operator can direct the snow by changing the angle of the plow or lift the plow when traveling where it is not needed.


The operator also controls the rate of application. They must also enter information in the controller for the type of material being applied and whether or not brine is being added.

Snow Blower

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There are six snow blowers in Omaha's snow equipment fleet. Although they are only used in one or two snow operations every year, they are indispensable machines that can move an impressive 50 tons of snow in a minute and they are capable of filling a dump truck in seconds.

The snow blower is powered by a 430 HP engine. It can throw snow over 100 feet.

The snow blowers are used in snow hauling operations for snowfalls of more than six inches, it is sometime necessary to collect and remove snow from downtown and other business districts. A snow blower will work in conjunction with twenty or more dump trucks to pick up and load snow into the haul trucks.

High winds with even moderate snow can build drifts that are too high for even a large snow plow. A snow blower will be needed occasionally to break through drifts in City streets.

"Ribbon" Blade

snow-blower-ribbon-bladesnow-blower-chuteThe forward facing "ribbon" blade can cut through wet or encrusted snow with ease.

Blower Chute

The snow is propelled up the chute and directed into either a haul truck or an open field.



Brine Making                                                                                                      

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The City makes brine at two of our five street maintenance yards. Brine is distributed to all yards and used during ice and snow removal operations. Brine is basically salt water. It is a very effective de-icing agent when applied directly to the pavement. It is also applied to granular salt and sand before applying those materials to the pavement. Wetted material adheres to the pavement better and melts ice and snow faster than salt without brine. To increase the melting capabilities of the brine a sugar beet derivative can be added to the brine mixture to lower the freezing point, making it more effective during extreme cold.


The brine is made in a large stainless steel vat. The salt is loaded into the top of the vat and water is added and mixed to create the brine


After the salt has saturated the solution, it is pumped to a storage tank. A small amount of water is added to reduce the concentration to the optimal percentage. Ten to twenty percent sugar beet derivative may be added also.

Brine is delivered from the storage tanks to other locations using a 3,000 gallon tanker truck and then the brine is loaded in to distributer trucks for application to the road surfaces.

Brine Distributor Truck

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The brine distributor truck is equipped with a 1000 gallon brine tank. The truck carries 23% salt brine that is applied to the road before and during snow events
Brine Tank

brine-tank-polyethyleneThe polyethylene tank holds about 1000 gallons of brine.

Brine Pump


The pump is controlled by the operator. The pumping rate increases as the truck speed increases to allow for a uniform rate of application.

Solenoid Valves


Solenoid valves are operated from the cab of the truck. They control whether brine is applied to the left, center or right lanes

Main Distributor


The main distributor applies brine in the lane behind the truck.

Vertical Manifolds


Vertical manifolds distribute brine to the lanes right and left of the vehicle. These are controlled by the operator.

Snow Plan- Brochure

Snow Operations

Emergency Parking Regulations

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