During a snowstorm, Provo City’s snowplows are sent out after snow starts to accumulate. Snow plowing on arterial and collector roads always takes a first priority. For obvious reasons the high capacity roads must come before smaller neighborhood roads. During our large and long storm following Christmas, crews spent almost all their time cleaning high capacity roads. Almost as quick as they could plow them, they were once again covered with snow. Next in priority comes regulated intersections, hillsides and curves followed by secondary and residential streets.
One of the most common questions I’ve had during the recent snow storm is why hasn’t the City plowed University Avenue. Many are surprised to learn that roads owned by the State are plowed by the UDOT and not the City. These include University Avenue, South State Street, 300 South and 500 West. Much like the City they also make difficult decisions about which roads get attention first. I15 will always come before State roads within our City.
The City has 8 main routes and plows that are put to work each storm. The crews have put in many 12-15 hour days during the recent storms. The frequency and severity of our recent storms have stressed our resources and still left many side streets, dead-ends and cul-de-sacs with frozen surfaces.
I’m grateful for both our crews and our residents that have all been very patient. As a City we will continue to evaluate our policy and look for methods to deliver the best possible service with the resources that are given to us.
How you can help
I would also like to remind everyone that when it snows, residential and business property owners are responsible for keeping sidewalks safe.
The Provo City Code states that the owner, tenant or lessee of property must remove snow or ice from the sidewalks any time that the average snow depth exceeds one inch, or when snow or ice on the sidewalk presents an unreasonably dangerous condition. Most cities have a similar requirement.
Here’s what we all need to do:
- Park cars off the street.
- Move obstacles like basketball stands and disabled vehicles off the street.
- Place garbage and recycling containers close to the curb and bring them in as soon as you can.
- Clear your sidewalk any time the snow gets deeper than an inch. (Remember, you, as the owner, tenant or lessee of property are required to remove snow or ice within 24 hours.)
- Consider those around us who need some help such as older neighbors, neighbors who are out of town. Help them out!
- If you leave town, make arrangements for snow removal in your absence.
- Take care not to pile the snow high and don’t pile it into the street. Don’t blow it into the street either. Leave the sight lines open. (If the snowplow throws snow onto your walk, please understand it’s unavoidable and clear the way again.)
- Remember, the snowplow trucks are difficult to maneuver and may have less traction than a car. Don’t try to pass one on a hill. Give a snowplow plenty of room.
When removing snow from sidewalks, property owners should make every effort to keep the snow on their property to prevent obstructing street travel or limiting the visibility of motorists. Some sidewalks are so close to travel lanes that city and UDOT snow plow crews may throw snow from the street onto sidewalks. While this can be frustrating for property owners, it does not reduce the importance of keeping sidewalks safe for pedestrians.
By working as a cohesive community, we increase the effectiveness of our efforts and make our city a safer place to walk and drive. The public may report sidewalk snow and ice hazards to the city by dialing 3-1-1. You can also read the city ordinance regarding sidewalk snow removal here (look for section 9.16.040).4