Snow Fights Return

To the Editor,

The ‘Snow Fights’ have returned. After several years without significant snow fall, we all have to relearn the art of dealing with the removal of snow from our roads and parking lots. It is almost fun to watch as each of us removes the snow from our driveways, roads and approaches-- usually giving that snow to someone else who doesn’t want it either. The State highway department and county road crews clear our public roads, and, unfortunately, sometimes push snow into private driveways and approaches. In an effort to clear their driveways, some residents push the snow back onto the public road right of ways. This is something that we have to accept as a part of life in an area that can have large accumulations of snow. I think that we are all glad to see what those of us who have lived here for more than ten years consider a ‘normal’ winter. And we hope that the snow keeps coming.

A problem that frequently arises is that some people, in a short term effort to remove snow from their driveways, create a long term potential for huge snow drifts. These drifts may block not only the county roads, but may also fill in the driveway worse than it would ever have been if the snow had been stacked somewhere else on the landowner’s property. Many landowner’s have developed better techniques to manage snow piles and drifting problems. If you have problems with drifting snow and plugged driveways, look at how your neighbors may be better able to keep their driveways open without plugging up the county road or state highway. We need to consider this when we plow snow. A short term solution to opening a driveway may create a much larger problem in the next few days or weeks as snow accumulates and wind patterns change. Some folks have been parking along the county roads. This creates a huge problem for snow plow crews who are trying hard to keep the county roads open. These people need to clear an area outside of the reach of the plows, so that we can properly remove snow from the county roads. Mailboxes are a huge problem for performing snowplowing.

The road plow crews do their best to keep the roads open and not damage mailboxes. While plowing during a snow storm or wind event, mailboxes are difficult to see and could be hit by the wing of a snow plow. Mailboxes can also be damaged by the snow coming off of the snow plow at speeds of 10 to 20 miles per hour. Carbon County will repair legally installed mailboxes they have damaged as soon as they are able. However, the responsibility for the repair of each damaged mailbox will be determined on a case by case basis. Mailboxes should be mounted in accordance with Postal Service standards, and should be a minimum of 8 feet off of the shoulder of the road and 40” above the roadway surface. Mailbox customers have the responsibility to maintain their turnouts or access to their mailboxes by removing any obstructions including snow, vehicles, or trash and maintain their own boxes. Mailboxes must be installed with a breakaway mailbox support system by the postal customer.

The Commissioners and road crews understand that plowing snow is not an easy task, and that sometimes some of that snow from private driveways can only be pushed across the county roads from those driveways. But consideration must be given to the longer term effect of piling snow high along the county roads, and the problems that those actions may create. So in engaging in the snow fights of 2014, fight nice if you are going to fight and respect your neighbor.

Board of Carbon County Commissioners

John Grewell Doug Tucker John Prinkki