Lessons Learned From the Snow Removal Front Lines

Lessons Learned From the Snow Removal Front Lines
Posted on 01/06/2016

Mother Nature continues to ensure that we remain humble and teachable in the area of snow removal. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 14 and 15 were no exceptions as the city received an incredible 22 inches of snow in 24 hours. The National Weather Service reported that a record held since 1922 on single storm snow total was broken at the Salt Lake City Airport. And more snow fell there in one day than all of last winter.

With our own observations and the help of many citizens by phone and social media, we have worked with our public works contractor, TerraCare to adjust some snow removal practices that should improve service in the future. The city’s highest priority during a storm is to help traffic move safely. So in accordance with the Snow Removal Policy and Procedures (available on our website) this will include:

-Reevaluation of the priority of streets and cul-de-sacs to improve safety and access.

-Most cul-de-sacs will be plowed along with adjoining streets and not left for a later time.

-During heavy storms, the clearing process in neighborhoods may be modified to have each road and cul de sac partially cleared to allow at least single lane of travel. When the storm has ended, full clearance to policy specifications will be performed.

-Cul-de-sac snow storage will be more carefully placed to maintain access to driveways and mailboxes.

-On street parking enforcement will be increased to improve plowing access and storage along curbs.

-Education and enforcement efforts will be increased where individuals are pushing snow from driveways and walks into the streets.

-TerraCare is also purchasing better GPS vehicle routing and monitoring equipment and making adjustments to route tracking.  This will assist in better deployment and routing to avoid inefficient performance.  The city is committed to having staff on the street during storms to monitor hotspots and address concerns.

You will also find changes to our hotline (801)-944-7071, website and social media portals that improve communication and opportunities for citizens to track snow removal efforts. While crews will need to follow route designation plans to maximize efficiency, an effort will be made to address problems more quickly so that traffic can keep moving. 

We know that the proof will be in our service over the rest of the winter and we appreciated both the positive feedback we received as well as the constructive criticism during that first major snow event.  While each storm is unique and provides different challenges, the city and TerraCare remain committed to serving you to the best of our abilities and striving to consistently improve the snow removal services in the city.