Public Works Services

There are a multitude of essential services that the Public Works Department provides to the community in order to maintain streets, sewer systems, water mains, trees & grounds, and traffic lights.  







Leaf Sweeping

During the season, the Village's four street sweepers sweep 19 zones, and residents can expect their neighborhoods to be swept 3-4 times during the Fall.

Street sweepers collect leaves that naturally fall into the streets. Raking or blowing leaves into the street from a resident’s private property or the village’s parkway violates Village ordinance. It’s important that residents with landscapers remind crews that they cannot place leaves into the street. Residents are responsible for the work their landscaper does. If a landscaper blows leaves into the street, it is the resident’s responsibility to remove the leaves.

If street sweeper crews reasonably identify leaves as having been intentionally placed in the street, they are instructed to go around those piles of leaves. Notices may be delivered to residents asking them to remove leaves they may have placed into the street. Raking or blowing leaves into the street creates a hazard for the entire neighborhood. Leaves can possibly clog street drains during a rain storm and a leaf-covered street can create a slippery road surface.

Parkway & Tree Care

The Public Works Department manages approximately 36,000 parkway trees and maintains 100 acres of Village owned greenspace.

Parkway Tree Maintenance & Pruning
The Village currently trims parkway trees on a four-year cycle. This routine pruning includes the removal of any dead branches, branches lower than 14’ (on mature trees) to provide clearance, and branches 8’ or closer to a manmade structure, when possible. 

The Village understands that sometimes a parkway tree may need more urgent attention. These situations include broken and hanging branches, branches causing sight obstructions, and low hanging branches. When these situations occur please submit a Service Request by calling the Public Works Department at 847.368.5800.

Parkway Tree Planting
It is currently the Village’s policy to replace parkway trees when an old tree is removed, as space and budget allows. At this time, the replacement tree is planted at no cost to the homeowner. The Village replants parkway trees biannually in the spring and fall. Several weeks before planting, a certified arborist will visit each planting site. If the arborist determines that there is an acceptable planting site present, then he will decide the new planting location and tree species. Species are selected based on site characteristics, nursery availability, and diversity. A white line will be painted on the top of the curb indicating the proposed location of the new tree. Residents are notified of the future tree planting with a door-hanger on the front door. A few weeks before planting, underground utilities in the parkway will be located and marked with flags and paint to prevent damage to them. 

Upon installation, new trees are mulched one time by the Village. Trees planted in the spring will also have a Gator Bag installed on them to aid in watering. Trees planted in the fall will have Gator Bags installed in the following spring. Once the trees are planted, the Village asks that residents fill the Gator Bags 1-2 times per week.

It is the Village’s goal to maintain a diverse parkway tree population by replanting where possible. However, not all trees can be replaced. Trees will not be replaced if 

  • There is less than 40 feet between existing trees in the parkway
  • They will interfere with nearby underground or above ground utilities
  • The only planting site available is the same location as the removed tree. It is understood that some parkways, such as in cul-de-sacs, may only have one planting location.

When these situations occur, the Village may make special arrangements to ensure that each address within the Village has one parkway tree.

Parkway Tree Removals
The Village removes parkway trees for numerous reasons, including natural decline, disease, insects, storm damage, utility problems, and site issues. After leaf out in spring or early summer, the Village conducts an annual, Village-wide survey to identify any tree needing removal or further inspection.

When a tree is identified to be removed, a green dot is sprayed on the street side of the tree and an informational door hanger is placed on the resident’s front door. This is done as a courtesy to notify residents of the status of the parkway tree in front of their property.

Stump Removal & Parkway Restoration
After the removal of a parkway tree, the Village will grind the stumps down to 8-12 inches below the surface, leaving the remaining root system to decompose. Stump removal will occur at a later date after the tree removal, as weather permits. Underground utilities in the parkway will be located and marked with flags and paint prior to grinding to prevent damage to them. 

The parkway will be restored with topsoil and grass seed when weather permits (spring through fall). Residents are responsible for watering the restored parkway area.

Potholes

Why are they called potholes?  
Pottery makers in 15th and 16th century England would take advantage of the ruts that wagon and coach wheels gouged into roads. Anxious for a cheap source of raw materials for making clay pots, the potters would dig into the deep ruts to reach clay deposits underneath. Teamsters driving wagons and coaches over those roads knew who and what caused these holes and referred to them as “potholes.” 

What causes a pothole?
Potholes are created when the pavement or the material beneath it—called base or subbase—cannot support the weight of the traffic it carries. Two factors are always present in such a failure: Traffic and Water. The “formation period” for a pothole includes these milestones: 

  • Snow or rain seeps into cracks in the pavement and into the soil below, causing mud and eroding support as a hole forms under the pavement.
  • Repeated freeze/thaw cycles or traffic cause the ground to expand and push up the pavement.
  • With temperature increases, the ground returns to its previous level; however, the pavement does not drop, which results in a gap between the road surface and the ground below.  
  • Vehicles driving over the raised pavement cause the surface to crack and fall into the hollow area below the pavement, which creates the pothole.


How are potholes repaired?

Pothole patching is generally performed either as an emergency repair under harsh conditions or as routine maintenance scheduled for warmer and drier periods. Depending on the materials used, patching can be performed during weather that ranges from clear spring days to harsh winter storms, with temperatures ranging from 0°F to 100°F. 

The Public Work's Street Unit performs two distinct pothole repair functions during our construction season which runs generally from April 1 through December 1. Our first responsibility is to fill potholes when we receive constructive notice either from our own crews or the public. This activity is a temporary fix to eliminate the immediate hazard. This work is only temporary until our permanent patching crew can get to that location or the street is scheduled for resurfacing.

The second responsibility is permanent asphalt patching. Crews performing this function square off repair areas by saw cutting the pavement for full depth asphalt patching.  In areas where pavement damage is extensive, we recently began an in-house milling and overlay program to supplement our permanent patching efforts.

It should be noted that using asphalt to patch potholes in concrete pavement is not as durable as patching potholes in asphalt pavement. The difference in the materials impedes the ability to form a secure bond between the pavement and the patch. The long-term solution is to make a permanent patch using concrete. Public Works crews do perform concrete patches on concrete streets, but these repairs are very expensive and funding is limited.

The Village of Arlington Heights strives to repair potholes on streets under our jurisdiction as soon as we are made aware of a hazardous condition. 

What influences pavement life?
In general, pavement life is influenced by many factors: vehicle loading (axle loads, tire pressure and gross vehicle weight [GVW]), traffic volume and mix, environment, subgrade condition, initial pavement design, initial construction practices, maintenance and pavement age. Although the public likes all potholes to be repaired promptly and tends to form a negative opinion of the municipality, state or other transportation agency when they are not, the decision to patch potholes is influenced by many factors as follows:

  • Weather conditions
  • The level of traffic
  • The time until scheduled rehabilitation or overlay
  • The availability of personnel, equipment, and materials
  • The tolerance of the traveling public


Pavement Maintenance

The Public Works Department is responsible for the maintenance of Village owned streets between initial construction and resurfacing or reconstruction cycles. Projects to periodically resurface or reconstruct Village streets are administered by the Village's Engineering Department. Between these cycles, pavements are maintained by filling potholes, making permanent pavement patches, and by crack filling.

Public Works personnel oversee an annual Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) contract for crack sealing. This work concentrates on pavements that are two to four years old and the cracks are sealed with a bituminous material that prevents moisture intrusion into the pavement subbase. Moisture intrusion is the primary cause of potholes and pavement failure. For the first time in 2010, Public Works crew supplemented the contractual crack sealing with some in-house work.

How do I report a pothole?
Potholes can be reported directly to the Public Works Department by calling 847.368.5800.  Please keep in mind that not all streets within the Village are maintained by the Village, so we invite you to view the Streets by Jurisdiction map.

Public Works Service Units

Forestry & Grounds
Maintains parkway trees through pruning operations as well as removing trees that can no longer be sustained. They also oversee the planting of trees in parkways and municipal property, and the planting and maintenance of flowers located around on Village-owned property such as Village buildings, Downtown, commuter parking areas and planted medians. The unit also manages contracts for tree trimming and removal, disease control, mowing and landscape maintenance.

Municipal Buildings
Responsible for maintaining 28 Village-owned buildings. Maintenance is provided for the building structures and all mechanical equipment including heating and air conditioning systems. This unit also manages the Metropolis Theatre building.

Sewer
Operates and maintains the storm, sanitary, and combined sewer mains, storm sewer, detention basins, catch basins and manholes. They oversee sewer flushing and root cutting operations as well as cleaning catch basins.

Streets
Repairs and maintains the Village’s street network including street sweeping, snow plowing and ice control, as well as resurfacing and patching of streets and sidewalks. Street maintenance also includes three phases of edge grinding, where 6-8 –foot wide edges of a street that are deteriorating are replaced with a new surface.

Traffic
Maintains street lights, traffic signalized intersections, traffic signs, solar powered disaster warning sirens and fare boxes located in commuter parking facilities.

Water Distribution
Maintains the Village’s potable water distribution system, repairing breaks or leaks each year. They also provide assistance in snow and ice control operations and other emergencies.

Water Meters
Repairs and maintains residential and commercial water meters. The unit also oversees Village-wide contracts for backflow preventer testing and larger commercial meter testing and repair.

Snow Removal

As snow removal and ice control operations begin, drivers will first clear the arterial and collector streets. Trucks will make two opening passes on all streets and then return later to plow the street full width to the curb. Residents are advised to wait until after the plows have moved the snow to the curb before attempting to clean their driveway apron. An additional crew is called in to clear eight miles of sidewalks around public parking lots, around areas leading to the downtown train station, and around Village owned buildings.

Parking Restrictions
Parking is not allowed on Village streets from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. daily. In addition, no parking is allowed on Village streets after two inches of snowfall, until such time that the street is completely cleared of snow. 

Snow Deposits on Streets
Snow cleared from private areas may not be deposited on public walks or streets. Snow cleared from walks or drives may not be deposited in the streets. Besides being against Village ordinance, these practices may result in hazardous conditions. 

Snow Removal Operations for Streets
In general, when snow accumulations are two inches or less, crews will apply a salt/liquid deicer mixture to soften the snow and prevent ice from bonding to the pavement. The salt is pre-wetted with a liquid blend consisting of salt brine, liquid calcium chloride and sugar beet juice. The use of this liquid blend allows us to use less rock salt while achieving improved snow-melting performance. This pre-wetting of the road salt allows us to save money by using less salt while also using a more eco-friendly material. 

When snow accumulations exceed three inches, the front-mounted plows are used to move the snow off streets and onto parkways. Plows will first clear the arterial and collector streets. Trucks will make two opening passes on all streets, then return later to plow the full-width of the street to the curb. 

The Village has approximately 300 cul-de-sacs which are divided into 10 zones for plowing operations. Each zone is assigned a driver with a small pick-up truck or a 1-ton dump truck with a plow. These crews plow these tighter areas when snow is two to three inches deep or greater. 

Residents are advised to wait until after the plows have moved the snow to the curb before attempting to clean their driveway apron. 

Snow Removal Operations for Sidewalks
When it snows crews are called in to clear 7.3 miles of sidewalks around public parking lots, on selected pedestrian routes leading to the Downtown train station, and around Village-owned buildings. Additionally, two employees are called out to salt and plow Village-owned parking lots at locations such as the Police station, four Fire stations, Senior Center, and the commuter parking lots. 

The Village is typically able to clear all snow and ice from Village maintained sidewalk using powered brooms which help cut down the need for using salt. Walks are only salted as needed during ice storms or if there is a chance for re-freeze. The Village typically uses less than 10,000 lbs of salt per year to keep Village maintained walks clear of snow and ice.

Keeping Your Drive Way Clear
Unfortunately snow will be pushed into driveways by the plow trucks during an snow and ice event. This is an unavoidable inconveniency, but there are a few tips you can use when clearing snow from your driveway. Shovel snow in the direction of traffic, and try to make a pocket on the opposite side of the driveway, as shown. By doing so, snow that is plowed will be dumped into that pocket and not back on your driveway.

Reminders & Tips

  • No parking is allowed on Village streets after two inches of snowfall, until such time that the street is completely cleared of snow. Per Village Ordinance, parking is prohibited from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. daily, regardless of weather conditions.
  • Snow cleared from walks or drives may not be deposited in the streets. Besides being against Village ordinance, these practices may result in hazardous conditions.
  • Depositing snow in the street in front of your driveway after streets are cleared could result in an icy patch that could be dangerous to your family and neighbors.
  • To the extent possible, keep areas around fire hydrants clear.
  • Be a good neighbor and if you can, shovel sidewalks especially where the sidewalk ends at a crosswalk.
  • Remind children that when building snow forts they need to remain on private property and should not build a snow fort on the parkways adjacent to streets. Constructing a snow fort next to the street can be dangerous.
  • Contact the Public Works at 847.368.5800 if a Village plow truck damages your parkway or mailbox in order to file a work request. Mailboxes damaged by plows will be inspected, repaired or replaced as soon as time permits with standard Post Master Approved mailboxes and wood posts. Parkway damage will be repaired in the spring.

Important Contacts
The Village’s Public Works Department does not plow Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) or Cook County Highway Department (CCHD) roads within the Village. View a comprehensive jurisdiction map of the Village for street responsibilities.  For information on roadway plowing conditions please call the following numbers.

  • Arlington Heights Snow Command
    To report a problem such as a street that may have missed being plowed 
    P: 847.368.5834
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
    For problems on Algonquin Road, Golf Road, Northwest Highway, Rand Road, Palatine Road, Dundee Road, Wilke Road north of Thomas Street north to Dundee Road, Arlington Heights Road between Palatine Road and I-90, and Central Road between Arthur and Dunton.
    P: 847.439.0100
  • Cook County Department of Highways, Schaumburg Yard
    For problems on Central Road between Dunton Avenue and Old Wilke Road, Euclid Avenue between Rohlwing Road and Walnut Avenue, Wilke Road between Northwest Highway and 1,000 feet north of Thomas Street, Arlington Heights Road between Palatine Road and Lake Cook Road, and Lake Cook Road
    P: 847.397.4145
  • Cook County Department of Highways, Des Plaines Yard
    For problems on Euclid Avenue east of Waterman Avenue, Thomas Street east of Arlington Heights Road, Schoenbeck Road, Hintz Road east of Arlington Heights Road, Buffalo Grove Road and Old Buffalo Grove Road. 
    P: 847.827.1164