Road Maintenance

Road Maintenance

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road work in muddy conditionsSpring Weight Restrictions

The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) will apply seasonal spring weight restrictions to its non-all-weather roads in the spring. The restrictions limits the amount of weight trucks can carry on the roads and is intended to minimize damage to the roads while the ground under the roads is thawing. The City of Farmington Hills follows the Road Commission guidelines and as such will also enforce the restriction. Please contact RCOC with any questions at RCOC Seasonal Restrictions Hot Line - 248-858-4765

RCOC Truck Operators' Map

The Division of Public Works currently maintains a network of more than 58 miles of major streets and 243 miles of paved and unpaved local streets.  Farmington Hills has the ninth largest municipal street network in the state of Michigan and the largest municipal network in Oakland County.

The DPW oversees all routine maintenance of the City’s street system including pavement patching and replacement, road grading, litter control, street sweeping, roadside mowing and landscaping, forestry services, storm drain maintenance and improvements, ditching, guardrail repairs, sign maintenance, and snow and ice control.  Additionally, City crews provide mowing and litter control services to 40 miles of county roads.

Ensuring safe driving conditions is the primary objective of the road maintenance program.  Improving the aesthetic quality of the street network in the City of Farmington Hills is also a priority.

Snow and Ice Removal

Plow truck plowing snowThe City provides snow and ice control throughout the winter months for its 300-mile road network. These streets fall into one of three categories - major roads, school bus routes, and subdivision streets. Major roads and school bus routes receive the highest priority; they are plowed and salted following any accumulation of snow or ice. Local streets are plowed following accumulation of four inches or more of snow. If the accumulation is less than four inches, subdivision streets are spot salted on hills, curves, and intersections. Staff members from the Division of Public Works, in conjunction with Police Department dispatchers, are on call seven days a week to respond to road hazard conditions or storm events. These services are provided for all roads under the City’s jurisdiction. Throughout Farmington Hills, however, there are roads under the jurisdiction of the Road Commission for Oakland County, the Michigan Department of Transportation, Wayne County, and our neighboring Cities of Southfield and Farmington.

Click here to view Farmington Hills Winter Maintenance Policy

Once snowfall begins, time is of the essence for the City of Farmington Hills Division of Public Works (DPW) to clear roadways toward ensuring they are as safe as possible for road users. During the snow removal process, residual amounts of snow will be left behind by the snowplows. This is referred to as a windrow. Learn more about windrows here.

School Bus Routes

The Farmington School District has selected the primary road link between the City’s major street network and the district’s elementary schools. These links are then designated as school bus routes. Note that these routes do not include all roads driven by school buses. School bus routes are plowed and/or salted following any accumulation of snow and ice.


The City does not plow or salt sidewalks. Although requests for this service have been reviewed for years, the City has adopted a policy of not providing snow and ice control for the City’s sidewalk network. Given the frequency of thaws in Southeastern Michigan, pedestrians can safely use sidewalks throughout most of the winter. Sidewalk snow removal programs in other communities have resulted in extensive landscape damages and, on occasion, caused increased hazards due to icy sidewalk surface conditions.

Salt/Sand Barrels

The City places 55-gallon drums filled with a mixture of sand and salt at intersections and hills upon request from homeowner groups. If your association is interested in having barrels placed within your subdivision, please send a letter, along with a clear description or sketch of the location, to the Division of Public Works at 27245 Halsted, Farmington Hills, Michigan, 48331, or email the DPW. It is important to obtain the approval of the property owner adjacent to the selected location, given that spilled salt may burn the grass.

Other Roads

There are a number of county and state roads that pass through Farmington Hills and are directly linked with the City’s road network. County roads, as well as MDOT highways, are maintained throughout the winter months by the Road Commission for Oakland County maintenance staff. Like the Farmington Hills DPW, the Road Commission maintenance staff is on call 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies and weather.

Gravel Roads Maintenance

If your home abuts one of the City’s 18 miles of gravel residential roads, then you know that living on a gravel road in Michigan can be challenging in any season but becomes more difficult during the winter months. Over the years, the City’s Division of Public Works has heard many concerns from gravel road residents as to the how’s and why’s of gravel road maintenance in the City. We’d like to share the reasoning behind our maintenance procedures and the materials that we use on gravel roads.   

Several times throughout the year, City staff grade, add road gravel, and treat your roads with a dust control product. If your gravel road has ditches at each side, this will ensure better drainage, which is necessary for optimal road conditions. The gravel road will deteriorate more quickly if the rain water and snow melt sit on the road surface.

The material used for gravel road surfaces is made up of stones, sand, and clay. This allows it to be shaped and compacted, forming a crust to assist with rain runoff, and also makes it easy to regrade the road. Many times we have received requests from residents to use limestone instead of road gravel, but limestone does not have the properties needed for proper gravel road surfaces. It is much dustier, more difficult to regrade once potholes develop, and does not carry the rain off the road and into the ditches.

During the winter, once the road freezes, not much cutting and reshaping of the surface can occur and additional gravel is only added to fill potholes. Salt cannot be applied since it will only melt the surface ice and make the road impassable. The City applies sand to the icy road surface to provide traction as you drive over the frozen road.

During the spring thaw (and freeze/thaw cycles), gravel roads become challenging to drive on and also difficult to maintain. This is largely due to the frozen road thawing from the top down, which causes the wet top layers to “float” on the frozen subsurface until all of the frost is gone. During these times, the DPW applies minimal sand as needed while trying to keep heavy equipment off the melting road surface as much as possible. We ask for your patience during the spring until Mother Nature eliminates the frost.

There is a science to how we maintain your gravel roads. We will continue to do our very best to keep the City’s gravel roads safe for travel.

Converting Gravel Public Roads To Paved Roads By Petition

With the passing of the local road millage, gravel public roads may be considered for paving if there is sufficient interest from adjacent property owners. The policies for converting gravel roads to paved roads by petition identify the methodology and procedures for citizen to follow when requesting paving by the City. The policies further outline the petitioning process and requirements for consideration by the City as well as the administrative requirements to move from preliminary engineering to potential construction.

The scope of gravel road conversion projects frequently requires significant changes to the road right of way, therefore a policy to establish how existing obstructions and improvements that lie within those limits have been detailed.

By signing the Gravel Public Road Paving Petition, property owners recognize that they have read and understand these policies.

PDF Icon Gravel Conversion Paving Petition and Policies