Snowplows hit busy streets first
Parkites wondering why their streets were plowed well after others during the recent storms might check their junk mail.
A detailed explanation from the Public Works Department could have ended up with the coupons and circulars in a trash can.
Public Works published a brochure explaining the snowplow operation just before the storms hit, providing Parkites with a map that shows which streets are the most important for the snowplow crews.
Pace Erickson, who manages the operations in Public Works, explains the top priorities are bus routes and other streets that are heavily traveled. The brochure’s map indicates as much, designating corridors as the most important.
Some examples of the first-priority roads include many Old Town streets and Lowell Avenue. Outlying streets that are top priorities include Sidewinder Drive, Little Kate Road and Three Kings Drive. Royal Street, the key connection between Park City and upper Deer Valley, and Bonanza Drive are also top priorities.
The streets that plows hit first are the city’s arteries, and many of them are in densely packed neighborhoods.
"Those are the vital roadways within Park City," Erickson says.
He explains parts of those streets might be plowed as frequently as four or five times in a 12-hour shift if a snowstorm continues, saying the crews "keep coming back to them."
The second-priority roads include Aerie Drive, Mellow Mountain Road, Meadows Drive and Lucky John Drive.
Meanwhile, third-priority roads are largely scattered on the fringes of Park City, streets like Aspen Springs Drive, Rising Star Lane and Sunny Slopes Drive. Roads in the lowest classification are plowed at least once in a 24-hour period during a snowstorm, Erickson says.
State snowplow crews run routes on S.R. 224 and S.R. 248, the two state highways that travel through Park City.
Erickson acknowledges Public Works received several complaints about the recent efforts, but he says some neighbors gave the snowplow drivers cookies. More than half of the complaints, Erickson says, came after private-sector snowplows pushed snow into the street or someone else’s driveway.
The Public Works fleet consists of six snowplows and three front-end loaders, one of which can be outfitted with plows if necessary. The department also has an oversized snowblower that can be attached to a front-end loader, another giant snowblower that can be put on a vehicle and two sidewalk plows.
The department assigns 16 people to the snowplowing efforts, with four people on each shift. The crews rotate on a 24-hour basis during big snowstorms.
The workers amassed about 40 hours of overtime in the mid-December storms, but in the biggest storms, about 100 hours of overtime can be compiled between the workers, Erickson says.
Erickson remains proud of the snowplow crews, saying they provide Parkites with commendable road conditions.
"Our snowplowing is adequate. It’s a very high level of service," he says.
For more information about snowplowing, call 615-5301 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 615-5346 at other times.
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