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Posted on Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 10:30 a.m.

Watching the snow come down - maps, webcams and more

By Edward Vielmetti

A roundup of links for a snowy day, including construction updates at the University of Michigan, live traffic updates from metro Detroit freeways and sledding information.

Watching the snow fall via webcams

You don't have to go outside to watch the snow fall. Here are a series of webcams that are watching it for you.

On the University of Michigan campus, most every construction project has a set of cameras pointed at it to help construction managers, students, staff, faculty and donors watch progress.

The North Quad webcam shows clear progress on that construction project in this snowy photo. The North Quad project overview from the Architecture, Engineering and Construction department has project details; the 360,000 square-foot, 10-story combination residential and academic building, designed by Einhorn Yaffee Prescott (EYP) and Robert A.M. Stern Architects, is scheduled for completion this summer.


North Quad, seen from the top of the Modern Languages Building on a snowy Feb. 22.

Courtesy University of Michigan

Construction at the University of Michigan Law School for a new building at State Street and Madison is much less visible from the street, but the live construction webcam gives a view of the foundations currently in progress. The most recent construction update of Feb. 16 notes that asbestos abatement is part of the overall project, which includes demolition work on portions of the adjacent Law School buildings. The University's Occupational Safety and Environmental Health department is on site to monitor exposure to dust and fumes.


Construction progress at the Law School.

University of Michigan

City of Ann Arbor snow desk

The City of Ann Arbor snow desk is staffed during snowstorms to answer questions from citizens at 734-794-6367.

As of 6:45 a.m., Ann Arbor City Council was informed by staff that: "Salt Routes and Majors will be cleared continuously until the event ends. Based on the forecast, snow will taper off by 4:00 p.m. this evening with an estimated accumulation of 5-8 inches. We anticipated starting residential routes at 6:00 p.m. this evening, at which time the snow hotline 794-6367 will be staffed and plowing will continue uninterrupted until all local street plowing is complete. Based on the heavy wet nature of this snow event, it is not possible to estimate a completion time at this point. Updates will be provided as to progress as the day unfolds."

As of 7:21 a.m, the e-mail sent to subscribers to the snow desk updates stated: "We will be working on the Major streets all day and will be going into residental areas starting at 6:00pm tonight."

The Ann Arbor snow plow route status update had not been updated yet at 9:20 a.m.; it generally shows which residential routes have had plowing started.

City of Ypsilanti

The Ypsilanti snow removal policy notes priority plow routes for city streets. Questions about snow removal in Ypsilanti can go to the Public Services Office at 734-483-1421.

Washtenaw County, private snow removal

If you live in a subdivision in Washtenaw County, which is normally very low on the county's plow list for plowing primary roads, your neighborhood association may decide to plow the roads privately. The county's policy specifies that a deposit is required by the contractor which will be refunded at the end of the season if there are no damages caused to the roads. Contact Matt MacDonell, Permits & Subdivision Supervisor, at 734-327-6688 for more information.

Driving to Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties

The Michigan Department of Transportation has an interactive transportation map which shows current traffic speeds across freeways in metro Detroit. The page includes links to traffic cameras, which show video of the highway conditions. The closest cameras start in Van Buren Township along I-94 at Belleville. You can also look at the contents of highway advisory signs from afar.


I-94 at Belleville is wet with the overnight snow in this MDOT traffic cam photo.

Michigan Department of Transportation


My December guide to the best sledding hills in the area would be good to look at today. Ann Arbor Public Schools are out on break, so expect the hills to be full.

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Edward Vielmetti sings the Heikki Lunta Snow Dance Song for Throw snowballs at him at