Governments look at solutions for snow problems |

Governments look at solutions for snow problems

Collin Smith

— After some of the heaviest snowfalls in recent memory, work hasn’t been easy for local Road and Bridge departments to handle, officials said.

Moffat County and the city of Craig Road and Bridge departments each have different problems facing them as they, and their residents, cope with conditions.

On the city front, Randy Call, Craig Road and Bridge and Refuse Department director, told the City Council at its Jan. 22 meeting that lax parking regulations make plowing city streets extremely difficult.

Call said many issues about plowing around the city can be attributed to his crews having to plow around vehicles.

The city’s only action at this point is to put a red tag on vehicles, but they can be moved up to three days after that.

Parking regulations have been “a fight for 25 years,” Call said to the Council. “We’re probably the most lenient community I know of.”

Call plans to survey other communities of Craig’s size in winter climates and present a report to the Council at a later date. The Council plans to use the report to examine any possible changes to current statutes.

To address some of the county’s issues, the Moffat County Commission met with county Road and Bridge officials at a workshop Thursday.

The day’s topic was senior citizen snow removal and how to balance increasing snowplowing across the county with the fact this winter has strained the county’s Road and Bridge overtime budget.

Overtime dollars are pretty much gone, Road and Bridge Director Bill Mack said.

Currently, the county plows county roads and will also plow a senior’s driveway on a county road if requested.

At its Jan. 21 meeting, a senior county resident asked the Commission why county crews couldn’t plow his driveway, too, because he lived on a state highway.

The Commission didn’t know why that stipulation was written into the policy, but said it would examine any policy changes with Road and Bridge.

At the workshop meeting, the parties agreed to start limited senior plow services on state highways when the snow mass is too large for residents to move.

Officials agreed to limit snowplowing on state highways because it’s too dangerous to have motor graders in high-speed areas that constantly.

Current policies, such as limiting plow services to driveways no longer than one-quarter mile, will remain.

Commission members said the county’s function is to serve the public whether that service is easy or not.

“We never want to forget we are here to provide services,” Commissioner Tom Gray said.

Road and Bridge officials felt the same way.

Increased man hours resulting from the policy change would not negatively affect the Road and Bridge Department, Commission members said. The county will provide enough funds for department crews to work whenever they’re needed.

“That’s why you need reserves, to handle these kinds of things,” Gray said.

During next year’s budget planning, the Commission plans to examine purchasing a plow explicitly for senior citizens.

“This could get to the point we need to get a new guy and a new motor grader just to do driveways,” Commissioner Tom Mathers said. “Either that or make it stop snowing.”

Mack simply responded, “It’s getting that way now.”

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