"A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water."
-- Carl Reiner
The sole reason local government exists is to make life better.
That statement came to mind as I thought about what could be written to highlight the extraordinary efforts of city public works departments in removing snow from public thoroughfares. I smiled in thinking how biased this article will probably appear, but I felt that it was a timely subject that emphasizes a primary purpose of local governing.
I use the city I represent as an example of the hard-working and dedicated municipal crews that provide this vital service.
Layton has 246.3 miles of roads. This equates to about 1,100 miles of snowplow lanes, since the average number of snowplow passes per road is four, with arterial streets. The average pass per road is four with arterial streets receiving six to eight passes.
Beginning from the center of the road, the snow is plowed to the curb. Residents are asked to remove the windrow of snow left from this process, which may block driveway approaches and mailboxes.
It is further requested that this pile of plowed snow be removed into the park-strip area and not back into the street. Several accidents have occurred from snow and ice that has been removed from the roadway, then shoveled or blown back out.
Layton has 27 snowplow routes and uses 31 plow trucks and a grader. Fifteen trucks and the grader are considered road trucks, with the others cul-de-sac trucks. Of the road equipment, six trucks are used on main arterial streets and nine trucks and the grader used to plow subdivisions.
An average snowfall takes 15 hours to completely clean from all the roads. In addition to plowing, this involves depositing approximately 350 tons of a 10 percent mixture of salt combined with Redmond mineral (completely dissolvable to protect storm drains) on the road.
Rubber blades are used on all Layton's snowplows to protect the streets.
The biggest problems involved in the removal of snow from municipal roads are the curbside parking of vehicles cars during storms and residents leaving out garbage cans. There are typically five to 10 truck mechanical breakdowns per storm for various reasons.
A great deal of pride is taken in providing this service and keeping our roads as safe as possible through the winter months.
It is noteworthy to mention how amazing residents have been in helping dig out their special needs neighbors and fire hydrants. This is a frequent occurrence and was particularly evident during the past few storms.
Steve Curtis has worked as a business consultant and communication specialist. He is currently mayor of Layton. He can be reached at email@example.com.