Monday, November 5, 2012

Think Snow!

CdA’s Award Winning Snow Removal

From Tim Martin
Street Superintendent

Snow means finding our snow shovels and servicing the snow blower. A typical winter brings 7 to 10 snowstorms that take a couple days to complete. We need to be prepared for anything to happen on a given day.

Snow fall typically begins sometime in mid-November into December. The first storm will be named “Amber.” This year’s storm names – alphabetically themed after names of “Rocks and Minerals” were created by Bailey Yace, first place winner from the sixth grade class at Canfield Middle School. Why do we name storms? In order to track, record, and critique our performance, we name storms. It helps us communicate storm status on KVNI radio, the press and on the city’s web page. Plus, it’s fun and provides an opportunity to teach kids about snow removal.

Our average snowfall is near 70 inches annually. The task is challenged by many obstacles, increasing traffic, and often poor visibility that make this operation potentially dangerous. Our advantage is a very talented group of equipment operators and mechanics working for the city. This team has dramatically reduced the number of snow plowing complaints, maintaining a remarkable safety record.

The Association of Idaho Cities recognized and awarded the city for our unique and popular “Snow Gate Program”. Neighborhood plowing is done with front-end loaders equipped with “snow gate” plows. This state-of-the-art snow equipment enables us to reduce the amount of snow you find in your driveway after we pass. The 2012-2013 draft Snow Plan that will go to the City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and recommends a target of 37 hours to complete a citywide snow plowing, a decrease from a decade ago.

Despite improvements, we still get complaints. The number one snow removal complaint is berms in driveways. Even with the snow gates, there are limitations. They reduce, but do not eliminate driveway berms. Depending on weather conditions they can be ineffective. The intent of the snow gates is to reduce the amount of snow in driveways. The snow that accumulates on wider arterials and collectors requires more passes in plowing to keep clear than residential streets and snow gates are not practical to use. The trade off for “gated” snow that reduces the amount in a driveway is that the snow must go somewhere so it tends to concentrate at “downstream” mailboxes. Seniors having difficulty handling snow deposits in driveways or at their mailbox may be eligible for assistance. The Lake City Senior Center may be contacted at 667-4628 for resources available based on individual circumstances.

You can help us after a major snowstorm by not parking on the street until after we are finished plowing. If you are in doubt as to whether we are plowing, call the Info Line at 769-2233, which is updated daily during plow operations. Also, listen & watch on local media for information. I promise you that we will continue to do the best job possible.