Tooele City snowplow crews were sent out to clear streets for the first time this winter on Sunday as a storm dropped up to a foot of snow on the city.
With the white stuff expected to continue, Tooele City Mayor Debbie Winn reminds residents that city code prohibits parking on city streets from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. from Nov. 1 to March 31, and when snowplows are at work.
“The biggest thing people can do to help the snowplows is to have their cars off the streets between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. and when snowplow conditions exist,” Winn said. “The other thing is to make sure they have removed their basketball standards from the streets. That really presents a hazard for the snowplows.”
No curbside parking is just part of an overall strategy the city uses to remove snow from the city’s 340 lane miles of streets, more than 170 cul-de-sacs and dead end streets, plus numerous alleys.
According to the city’s snow removal policies and procedures, the city strives to maintain safe conditions for drivers, but it must be remembered that “each storm has its own character” with variable conditions that can change quickly, and possible influence from lake effect caused by the Great Salt Lake.
That character and variable conditions are taken into account by the city when its snowplows and drivers are sent out. When snowplow conditions exist, the city uses the following priorities based on traffic volume and public safety needs to provide the most efficient and beneficial service, according to policies and procedures.
Priority 1: Arterial and most larger collector streets and streets next to the hospital, police, fire and emergency stations. Priority 2: Generally smaller collector streets, and streets next to schools, bus routes, and with dangerous intersections, hills or curves.
Priority 3: All other residential through streets, excluding cul-de-sacs, alleys and dead-end streets. Priority 4: Cul-de-sacs, alleys and dead-end streets.
At the onset of a storm, the mayor and/or public works director will make an initial determination of the magnitude of the storm based on forecasting and information available. The city then uses four generalized storm categorizes to determine how best to respond and deploy snowplow crews. They are:
Category 1: Snow depth 0-4 inches with up to four-hour storm duration. All Priority 1, 2, 3 and 4 streets are to be cleared at least once with additional clearing for Priority 1 and 2 streets as needed. De-icing material will be applied as necessary.
Category 2: Snow depth 4-8 inches with up to eight-hour storm duration. All Priority 1, 2 and 3 streets are to be cleared at least once with additional clearing for Priority 1 and 2 streets as needed. Priority 4 streets will be plowed as time permits until after storm ends. De-icing material will be applied as necessary.
Category 3: Snow depth 8-12 inches with up to 12-hour storm duration. All Priority 1 and 2 streets are to be cleared at least once with additional clearing of Priority 1 streets as needed. Priority 3 and 4 streets will be plowed as time permits until after storm ends. De-icing material will be applied as necessary.
Category 4: Snow depth 12 inches or more with a storm duration of more than 12 hours. All Priority 1 and selected Priority 2 streets are to be cleared continually throughout the storm. Some Priority 2 and all Priority 3 and 4 streets will only be plowed as time permits until after the storm ends. De-icing material will be applied as necessary.
According to policies and procedures, the city’s streets are typically cleared of snow by two methods: either to the side of the street, or to its center. To the side of the street is the most common method, but during category 3 and 4 storms, or on low priority streets, drivers may choose to plow toward the center of the street.
The city’s snow removal policies and procedures is available online at www.tooelecity.org and provides more information, including a map, property damage claims, property owner responsibilities, safety tips and frequently asked questions.