Snow removal services gearing up for season
With the imminent approach of winter, snow removal services are gearing up for another bout with Jack Frost.
“I think the biggest misconception people have is that if they have a four-wheel-drive, they can get through (chain control),” said Mark Dinger, assistant public information officer for Caltrans.
During extreme conditions, even vehicles with four-wheel drive and snow tires are required to carry chains, he said. But the highway will usually be closed before four-wheel drive vehicles with snow tires are required.
While private business people can assist with putting on chains, they are not authorized to sell or rent them. Caltrans encourages those who employ their services to get a receipt and write down their badge number to avoid misunderstandings later.
Caltrans signs located on Highway 89 and U.S. Highway 50 dictate when chains are required and during extreme snow conditions places such as Carson Pass, Luther Pass and Echo Summit can be closed.
Hopefully snow removal services provided by the city of South Lake Tahoe, EL Dorado County, and Caltrans can help alleviate the dangers created by too much snow. But residents must be aware of certain rules to avoid interfering with plows.
Vehicles must be parked within property lines to stay out of the way of snow removal vehicles. An illegally parked vehicle within city limits, not only risks damage, but also a $102 fine and potential towing.
People are encouraged to keep their children and pets away from the property lines. In fact, city maintenance recently conducted an informational program for kindergartners and first-graders at area elementary schools.
“We discourage snow men and snow caves in the right of way,” said Scott Rodgers, superintendent of street maintenance. “If they are built in the front yard, they should be close to the house, but preferably in the back yard.” He stresses the importance of keeping sleds and shovels and garbage cans from snow berms that accumulates on the side of the street from plowing.
Fence posts should be marked with distinctively colored stakes or poles with reflectors facing traffic and should be in intervals of no more than 10 feet apart.
People should not shovel snow off the driveway and into the street but to the side in their yard.
Shopping carts left on the side of the road can be a menace to rotary snowplows by getting entangled in the sharp blades designed to widen streets after the initial snow plows have gone through.
“All snow activities should be away from the berm and the street,” he added.
While Caltrans removes snow on U.S. highway 50 and Highway 89, the city regulates the rest of the city streets, which are divided up into eight sections. When accumulations on the 127 miles of city roads reach three inches, eight plows are deployed to each section, first plowing the main streets, then moving throughout the neighborhoods, Rogers said.
During February 1999, snow plows ran for 24 hours straight in attempt to keep the roads clear, he added.
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