The Wyoming Department of Transportation is again issuing a reminder that it is a violation of state law to place snow on state roadways.
WYDOT has received many reports in this month of people pushing snow into the traffic lanes of state highways, and this includes highways which carry traffic through towns.
State statute 35-10-401 stipulates that anyone who obstructs a public road or highway, common street or alley, public bridge or navigable river in a way that makes it inconvenient or dangerous to pass is breaking the law. Each violation is punishable by a fine of up to $100 and a jail sentence of up to three months.
“Piling or depositing of snow in WYDOT’s right of way not only reduces line of sight visibility, but also creates other hazards such as drifting, and potential road obstructions,” said WYDOT District Maintenance Engineer Lyle Lamb of Basin. “Piles of snow adjacent to the roadway can melt and contribute to areas of unexpected slick spots, creating hazards on an otherwise dry roadway.”
- Piling snow at the ends of driveways along highway shoulders and pushing snow across roads can create hazardous conditions;
- Piling or depositing snow that obstructs vision is a safety issue;– Using snow blowers to deposit snow in the state highway is another safety issue;– And, keeping sidewalks clear is important to help people walk safely out of the roadway.
Another concern is when residents and businesses pile snow at the ends of driveways along the highway shoulder, Lamb said. This “banked snow” can reduce visibility for vehicles trying to enter the roadway.
“When the snow banks get higher than your average car, it makes it very difficult for motorists to see other vehicles,” said Lamb. “Our crews work to keep the shoulders clear for motorists’ safety, and we need residents and business owners to do the same.”
Leaving a trail of snow on the pavement while plowing across the road can also cause problems. The snow may become packed and create ridges on the road, or as temperatures change, the area may become icy.
“Careless plowing creates an added hazard to unsuspecting motorists and to road maintenance personnel,” Lamb said. “Winter is a difficult time to get around for those on foot, so please take the extra effort to clear your sidewalks and help everyone stay mobile and safe.”