The Lander City Council heard an update on local snow removal efforts Tuesday – less than a week after a Thanksgiving storm dropped more than 20 inches of snow on the town.
The forecast had only called for 8 inches of snow, public works director Lance Hopkin told the council during a work session this week.
“We got hit with a lot more snow than projected,” he said. “We prepare for the weather forecasts and try to have more people on hand when we need them, (but) this one got us a little bit more.”
Crews were out plowing the streets during the storm, following the priorities outlined on the city snow removal map, Hopkin said, but they weren’t able to remove the snow piles they’d made until more workers were available.
“(That’s why) you saw the windrows remaining out there on Main Street,” Hopkin said. “It was a bit of a mess.”
The city’s new snowblower broke down on Monday, Hopkin added, so crews are now using a “backup blower,” which is not ideal with the “old, icy snow” that remains on the ground.
“The new blower does great – we can run it through anything and it’s going to chew it up and put it into a truck” Hopkin said. “But the old blower, that tends to take it down, so we’re trying not to tear up too much right now with that in mind, knowing that we want to pick up mostly what we put out in a day so we don’t have to break it up a second time.”
Once the new blower is back “up and going,” Hopkin said, “we’ll get back to getting out in front of a lot more streets and then windrowing that and getting down to the asphalt pavement.”
Councilmember Julia Stuble asked Hopkin whether he has considered implementing parking restrictions that require residents to remove their vehicles from certain roadways during winter storms.
“Right now, we do a volunteer call-out (that says), ‘Please consider moving your cars,’” she said. “(Are there) other steps to take so we have clear streets for our equipment to move through?”
The city has already purchased street signs that could be posted along “very narrow right of ways” telling people to move their vehicles when snow is on the road – or risk being towed, Hopkin said.
He hasn’t posted the signs yet, however, because many residents use those narrow roadways for “extra parking.”
“The last thing we want to do is to have to start posting these (signs),” Hopkin said. “But we want to be able to get through there safely.”
Some of those narrow streets lead to school zones, he noted, while others traverse “steep hills where we’ve already had people sliding sideways and there’s parked things in the way.”
“All the ice … has been difficult,” Hopkin said. “We’re trying to manage the slick spots as best as possible.”
A few of those slick spots have appeared on Second Street, where Hopkin said there have been “lots of wrecks” since last week’s storm.
“We’ve been sanding it hourly (just) trying to get traction,” he said. “We’ll keep working through that.”
Local crews may get some help from Mother Nature next week, when temperatures are expected to rise to the 40s, Hopkin added, asking residents to check their curb and gutter lines and remove any obstructions in order to “promote drainage” during the upcoming warmup.
For more information call the City of Lander at 332-2870.