Craig city officials clarify snow-removal requirements
December 20, 2018
CRAIG — Snow is in the forecast, and following a few tips will ensure roads are safe for drivers and snowplow operators.
The city of Craig requires residents to move their vehicles after a storm to allow roads to be plowed from curb to curb. City code also prohibit residents from moving snow into streets or alleys.
"It is unlawful for any person to deposit snow and/or ice on any public street or alley from public or private property. Snow materials may be pushed into the property owner's property so long as it does not interfere with regular city snow plowing operations nor impede sight distance for traveling motorists," according to the city of Craig code enforcement webpage.
Ignoring this law could result in a citation to municipal court and possible fines, said Jill Nelson, code enforcement officer for the city.
"We first try to gain cooperation for people to fix the problem, if it's not fixed, then it can be a citation," she said.
When residents push snow into the street, it creates hazardous windrows, said Road and Bridge Department Director Randy Call.
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"People could hit that (windrow) and lose control," he said.
Windrows are also created when vehicles are left on the street too long after a storm.
"The bigger issue is vehicles parked on the street and not moving," Nelson said.
If a plow driver doesn't see a windrow in time to slow down, "it can turn trucks sideways in the road," Call said. He described such mishaps as "trips,” explaining the front tires lift, causing the truck to slide.
"You can't steer the truck. It causes a hazard. That can damage parked cars," he said.
Parking is prohibited along some city streets, including parts of Fourth Street and Victory Way, after a snow event, Nelson said.
On streets where parking is allowed, drivers should move their vehicles to previously cleared areas.
"It helps the snow plow drivers do their job better,” Nelson said. “It cuts back on unsafe conditions.”
When residents move their vehicles, it also allows plow drivers to return and clear the windrow.
"… We go back and clean up before the next storm," he said.
Vehicles that are not moved will be red-tagged.
If a red-tagged vehicle is not moved within 48 hours, the city can have the vehicle towed to the impound lot.
Once a vehicle has been impounded, owners must provide proof of ownership and pay tow bills and storage fees to reclaim it.
"We would much rather not tow vehicles," Nelson said.
Another important responsibility of residents is to keep fire hydrants clear.
"The city doesn't normally clear them; that's left up to the homeowner," Call said.
Nelson added: "We don't always think about it, but it really helps so that the fire department can access it."
Most residents living near a hydrant are good about clearing a trail around them, Call said.
"If we see one has been covered, we try to get it uncovered," he said.
City Road and Bridge crews also clean windrow left across driveways for between 220 to 230 disabled or seniors citizens.
"If we cleared every driveway in town, we would need 2.5 days to plow the town," Call said.
Picking up the blade at each driveway isn't an option.
"If you pick up the blade you leave a big mess at the end of the driveway," he said.
As residents move driveway windrows, Nelson said it's important to "be aware when piling snow. If at the end of the driveway, be careful not to create a visual barrier. Keeping snow piles low in the visibility areas will help to reduce traffic accidents."
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.