Fun Facts About Snow Removal at the National Mall

Korean War Veterans Memorial in snow

NPS photo

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News Release Date: January 26, 2016

Contact: Mike Litterst, 202-306-4166

WASHINGTON—As the National Mall digs out from last week's historic snowstorm, National Park Service crews are moving 8.25 million cubic feet of snow from the memorials, roads, parking lots and sidewalks, which is enough to fill the Washington Monument 18.4 times. And the weight of that snow is 1.6 times heavier than the entire Lincoln Memorial.

Crews take special care when shoveling at the monuments and memorials to ensure that these icons are not chipped or damaged, especially the soft Colorado Yule marble of the Lincoln Memorial steps, or the pink Tennessee marble of the floors at the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. National Park Service maintenance crews use a concrete-friendly calcium magnesium compound to melt snow and ice on sidewalks, and a salt sand mixture to melt snow and ice on roadways. 
Here's a look at the numbers from our "Math Rangers," based on a snowfall of 20″:

  • Sidewalks - 55 miles at an average of 5 feet wide = 2.42 million cubic feet of snow 
  • Roads - 47 lane miles = 3.73 million cubic feet of snow 
  • Memorial plazas and steps - 600,000 square feet = 1.0 million cubic feet of snow 
  • Parking lots - 15 acres = 1.1 million cubic feet of snow 
That's a total of 8.25 million cubic feet of snow, enough to fill the interior of the Washington Monument more than 18 times! By weight, assuming 15 pounds per cubic foot of settled snow was handled, that equates to 123,750,000 pounds (61,875 tons) of snow, meaning crews have removed snow that is 1.6 times heavier than the entire Lincoln Memorial. 

To put this all in perspective, in the Greater Washington Area alone, the National Park Service manages 700 parks, which range in size from neighborhood national parks on Capitol Hill and in Anacostia to parks like Prince William Forest Park and Catoctin Mountain Park farther outside of D.C. They include stables, greenhouses, marinas, golf courses, tennis courts, and treasured monuments and memorials. In all, National Park Service crews are working to clear and treat nearly 300 miles of roads, 155 bridges, and more than 100 miles of sidewalks. 

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Last updated: January 26, 2016

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