Living Snow Fences
Rows of native trees or shrubs planted to keep snow from drifting on roads, which reduces snow removal costs, related energy costs and makes roads safer for winter drivers.
A living snow fence has several advantages over commercial wood slat or polyethylene snow fences. It is less expensive, does not have to be installed and taken down annually, is almost maintenance-free once established, and is more visually appealing.
What are the benefits of living snow fence?
- Prevents snow drifts that can cause crashes and result in stranded motorists
- Improves driver visibility
- Reduces roadway maintenance costs by reducing plow time and salt usage
- Lessens environmental impact with less salt use, fewer truck trips, and less fuel consumption
- Controls soil erosion and reduces spring flooding
- Provides wildlife habitat
The LCDOT design team is considering areas where living snow fences with bushes or trees can be incorporated into our projects. This was recently done as part of the reconstruction and widening of Peterson Road in central Lake County. As part of the project, a row of bushes was planted on the north side of Peterson Road at Alleghany Road. As the bushes grow to maturity, the benefit of the living snow fence will be fully realized.
Protection of Open Spaces
To reduce the drifting of snow on our roads, we work with local farmers to install temporary snow fences. This reduces the need for plowing and salting those open areas.
LCDOT promotes the use of living snow fences and partnered with a farm in Wadsworth, Illinois in 2014 and 2016 to leave 12 rows of corn up over the winter, which was a great success. Due to crop rotation, this method is used every other year. The farmer is paid the price of the corn plus 10%, which is less expensive than the labor, equipment, and materials to install and remove temporary snow fence. LCDOT is currently discussing the option of installing a permanent snow fence sharing cost incentive with the farmer in Wadsworth.
Rain Gardens (Bioretention)
Rain Gardens or Bioretention Planters are planted depressions designed to collect and absorb stormwater runoff from nearby paved surfaces like streets and sidewalks. They combine engineered stormwater control and treatment with aesthetic landscaping. Depending on soil conditions, they can be designed to remove pollutants from stormwater using biological processes, slow the movement of stormwater through the landscape and/or allow the water to seep into the soils below.
Reasons for Stormwater Bioretention Facilities
- Small-scale stormwater management practices
- Promote infiltration of runoff
- Reduce runoff volume, especially low intensity storms
- Improve water quality by removing ammonia and metal pollutants
New Campus Filtration Basin for Salt Runoff 2017
The Lake County Division of Transportation initiated a project to reduce salt runoff from the Libertyville Campus into nearby Bull Creek. Construction is complete on a new filtration basin to treat runoff from our salt storage areas. The basin is constructed with specially engineered soil that attracts and clings to the chlorides to contain them on our property to protect water quality in Bull Creek.