Park City, hit hard, deploys the snowplow fleet
Skiers and snowboarders were giddy this week as the snow piled up.
But many drivers were probably grumpy.
It would have been even worse on the roads if not for Park City’s snow-removal efforts. The Public Utilities Department, the successor to the Public Works Department, is responsible for snowplowing roads and many walkways inside Park City. The crews were seen repeatedly in some places during the snowstorms, clearing the road as the snow piled up again and again.
There have been few snowstorms in Park City in recent years as relentless as the one that hit as Christmas approached. Crowds were large and traffic was expected to be bad even before the storms arrived.
Troy Dayley, the streets supervisor and one of the City Hall staffers who oversees the snowplowing and snow-removal efforts, said on Wednesday the operations were going well.
"Back when it used to snow like this, we developed a plan," Dayley said.
The snowplows move through Park City on a priority basis. There are three priority levels for streets and another three for walkways. The street priorities are especially notable since they provide a rundown of which roads are plowed first.
Streets classified as a first priority are generally in Old Town. Some major roads in other neighborhoods are also in the first-priority grouping. The first-priority roads in Old Town are some of Park City’s narrowest streets, making driving especially difficult with snow on the road. The first-priority streets outside of Old Town are heavily traveled as drivers make their way between neighborhoods and commercial districts.
Second-priority roads include streets in the Aerie, some streets in Prospector and large stretches of streets in Park Meadows. Roads designated as third priorities are generally on the edges of neighborhoods.
The Utah Department of Transportation, meanwhile, is responsible for plowing the two state highways — S.R. 224 and S.R. 248 — that travel through Park City.
The crews on Wednesday night started a hauling operation along Main Street to remove the snow that had piled up. The workers used heavy machinery to load dump trucks. The snow was then taken to a storage area at Quinn’s Junction. The hauling frees up space on the sides of the road. The hauling continued Thursday morning.
Once there is a break in the weather, Dayley said, the snowplows will return to the neighborhoods to push snow to the gutters, making additional road surface available. A hauling operation like the one on Main Street is not yet planned in neighborhoods.
Alison Kuhlow-Butz, the executive director of the Historic Park City Alliance, which represents businesses on and close to Main Street, said the snow haul Wednesday night and Thursday morning was an important step. It was difficult for people to walk across the street anywhere but intersections with the banks of snow at the curb, she said. Kuhlow-Butz said she had not received a complaint about the snow-removal efforts along Main Street.
"I do think the snow removal is as good as you can get," she said, noting the amount of snowfall and the duration of the storm.
Dayley said the crews worked 24 hours a day starting last weekend. The department’s snow-removal fleet consists of eight snowplows, three front-end loaders and three plows designed for sidewalks. It is the responsibility of the residents and businesses, though, to shovel sidewalks outside their places in most locations. The municipal crews shovel sidewalks on Main Street, Park Avenue and Kearns Boulevard.
Park City operates two phone lines for people calling about snow removal. The daytime line, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on business days, is 615-5301. The after-hours line is 615-5346. Dayley said the department by Wednesday afternoon had received fewer than 10 calls from people lodging complaints or requesting snowplows be dispatched to certain streets. Approximately the same number of people had complimented the work of the snow-removal crews, he said.
"We’re keeping up," Dayley said, adding, "We’re not losing ground."
Republic Services, the trash and recycling hauler, said in a recorded message trucks are having difficulty providing services even with chains on the tires. Trash and recycling containers would not be dumped on the regularly scheduled day, it says. The message asks people to leave containers curbside and the trucks will dump them as soon as possible. Drivers will work on Saturday and Sunday, the message says. If a truck does not reach a home or business this week, the company will take away material left next to the container on the next scheduled pickup day, according to the message.
Dayley, though, said people should not leave trash and recycling cans outside overnight because they could hamper the snow-removal efforts.
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“The Park City Fire District chief said it is unlikely but not impossible the area will ever suffer a wildfire like the terrible Camp Fire that struck Paradise, California, in 2018.”