NORTH OGDEN -- The city is trying to stay ahead of the snow-plowing game this year by informing residents of policies and getting a little ahead of where they have started in years past.
Traditionally, the city waits until there's at least 3 inches of snow before the plows hit the road, but in a recent conference Public Works Director Mel Blanchard attended, he was told waiting for 3 inches is too long.
This year, the city will start to salt the main roads after about 1 inch of snowfall.
"We are doing it a little different this year, with a quicker response," Blanchard said.
The department will start with the main roads and then the school zones, unless there is no school. After that the crews will branch out to all the other neighborhoods.
There are 17 different pieces of snow plowing equipment, and all 17 of those pieces are in use after a large snow storm. Plowing the whole city takes about 10 hours -- wider streets take three swipes, Blanchard said.
In the past, crews have plowed neighborhoods based on how much snow they have, but after many complaints, the department is trying a different method this year and will hit neighborhoods in all elevations at the same time. It still may take longer to get to some, just because of the time element and the number of plows, but there will be no difference in service to subdivisions that are not on main roads.
Blanchard did say the higher mountain areas of the city can get up to 4 more inches of snow, though.
"People have to understand there is a big difference," he said.
He does know that some streets occasionally get missed, but if crews are told about it, they try to get it done as soon as possible.
"Plowing snow is big business. I don't think people realize how much goes into it," Mayor Richard Harris said.
Blanchard said his department gets many phone calls wondering about procedures and salting the roads.
The city uses brown salt because it melts the snow more quickly than regular salt. It is much more expensive, too, but does a much more efficient job. The city doesn't sand the road much anymore, because the sand has no place to go and ends up in storm drains, which creates another set of issues.
The winter parking ordinance went into effect Thursday and prohibits parking on city streets between midnight and 6 a.m. until
March 15. It also prohibits parking on the road during or within 24 hours of a storm. If cars are in the way, plow drivers are instructed to lift their plows in the area. They are instructed not to talk to residents about it, but to call the police and report the violation. The police will then issue the citation and see that the car gets moved. Once all other neighborhoods are cleared, the plow will come back to the street where the car was parked. Blanchard and Harris both strongly cautioned residents to take the winter parking ordinance seriously, so the plows can do their job in a timely fashion. Plow drivers are also instructed not to try to help someone who is stuck or in an accident, but will call police to help the resident.
Blanchard encourages residents to inquire about the snow removal system, because it is a complicated process that he is eager to help residents understand.
Copies of the map of the order of snow removal are available at the city offices and the public works department. Officials also hope to put a copy of the map online within the next week.
Residents can also call Blanchard at 801-782-8111.