OGDEN — The state transportation department wants you to keep your snow where it belongs — on your own property.
Utah Department of Transportation Region One spokesman Vic Saunders said with a few mid-week storms on the horizon, the agency is reminding business and home owners that snow removed from sidewalks, driveways and parking lots must stay on the property it started on and should not be plowed or shoveled into the streets.
The removal of snow and ice from the state highway infrastructure is classified as an emergency operation and takes precedence over all other work, according to UDOT Region One Director Lisa Wilson. And with a relatively snowy winter, UDOT crews have been busy this season.
“Highways are cleared as quickly as possible even though this involves working extra hours, nights, weekends and holidays,” Wilson said.
As the snow has piled up this year, UDOT says people plowing and shoveling it into the street has, at times, created unnecessary work and unsafe conditions. According to Wilson, the snow freezes, adheres to the roadway and causes damage to the state’s snowplows.
“(It’s) dangerous for those operators and creates an unnecessary expense of taxpayer dollars,” she said.
Utah Criminal and Traffic Code says a person “willfully or carelessly” leaving snow on a public roadway in a way that “obstructs travel or that endangers property or persons” can be charged with a class B misdemeanor.
Property owners who fail to obey the law could be cited.
“We respectfully ask for property owners’ cooperation,” she said.
Statewide, UDOT employs nearly 500 full-time plow drivers. The department also has about 80 construction staff and seasonal employees with licenses to operate snowplows as well.
The state’s entire fleet consists of more than 500 snowplow trucks, 11 self-propelled snowblowers and 13 TowPlows (a truck plow attachment that essentially doubles coverage area).
UDOT’s typical winter operations budget is about $24 million, which includes equipment, salt, brine, salaries and dynamite for avalanche control.