Councilman unimpressed by snow removal |

Councilman unimpressed by snow removal

Adam Jensen

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – City Public Works Director John Greenhut has said he is pleased with how crews handled snow removal during a severe winter storm that pummeled the Lake Tahoe Basin last week, but at least one City Council member isn’t so sure.

Greenhut reviewed data from snow-removal operations since mid-December and said he is “pleased with staff’s ability to complete the initial plowing of the city’s 130 miles of streets considering the conditions,” in a Thursday statement from the city.

“The city’s goal in optimum conditions is to make initial passes on all streets in about 12 hours,” Greenhut said. “The severity and the wet nature of the storms from Dec. 21 through New Year’s combined with power outages and emergency situations occurring throughout the city made meeting the goal a difficult challenge.”

Between mid-December and the end of 2010, the city had 18 snow removal operators and each of its snow plows in operation, at times 24 hours a day, according to the statement.

City snow removal crews accomplished initial and secondary snow removal goals over the New Year’s holiday despite mechanical issues, short staff, and heavy traffic, according to the statement. Some streets could not be accessed until downed power lines were cleared.

City work crews thanked the community for its assistance, understanding and patience during such heavy snowstorms in the statement.

But City Councilman Tom Davis said the city can improve its response in emergency situations such as last week.

“We can do a better job,” Davis said during a Thursday interview.

He said better communication, especially, could have helped residents get through the messy storm. The protocol for dealing with emergency situations needs to be better spelled out, Davis added.

Davis said he’s asked City Manager Tony O’Rourke to report on the city’s response to the storms at the council’s Tuesday meeting.

The city’s snow- and ice-removal plan can be downloaded from the city’s snow-removal webpage, which includes snow removal zone maps, a snow removal video and information on how to minimize snow berms.

The page can be found at


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