During the winter months, City of Staunton Public Works personnel work hard to make roads safe for the public. No matter how careful our snow plow operators are, snow and ice control operations may sometimes create inconvenience for residents, and may accidentally cause property damage. Here are some questions you might have about snow removal on City streets.
- How does the city decide which streets get plowed first?
- Why do the city snow plows push snow into my driveway and who is responsible for clearing it?
- I just shoveled my driveway. Why did the city snow plow push snow on it?
- I just shoveled my sidewalk. Why did the city snow plow push snow on it?
- Why is the snow plow operator driving so fast considering the road conditions?
- Can snow from my driveway be pushed across the street?
- When does my sidewalk need to be cleared and whose responsibility is it?
- Who do I contact if a city snow plow hits my mailbox?
- What if landscaping or irrigation in the right of way is damaged?
- Who do I contact if a city snow plow damages my lawn?
- What if we have an emergency during a snow storm?
The City of Staunton Department of Public Works plows 65 lane miles of state arterials and 220 lane miles of local and residential streets. Typically, plowing begins when snowfall accumulates 3 or more inches. Crews start by plowing main arterials for emergency vehicle access. These are plowed before residential streets. Please understand that every street cannot be cleared at the same time.
Because of normal snow plowing operations, snow may be placed in your driveway unavoidably. Plows are angled to the right for plowing from the centerline of the street to the curb. For this reason, a certain amount of snow will be deposited in driveways. Snow left in driveways or on sidewalks by the city while snow plowing is still the responsibility of the resident to remove.
When plowing, the snow may end up on the driveway you just shoveled. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes you. If your schedule permits, you may want to wait and clear your driveway after plows have passed through your street. If it is a significant snowfall, the snowplows will probably be back. Streets are typically opened with one pass so that streets are passable for drivers as soon as possible. Snowplows may return to open the street curb-to-curb. This is done to clear areas for on-street parking and to allow melting snow to drain into catch basins. We regret that you may find some snow on your recently shoveled driveway and you have to shovel it again.
SNOW REMOVAL TIP
… If your driveway is cleared before the street is completed, clear the area to the right of the driveway if you are facing the house, (the oncoming side). When the plow comes by the snow will dump in this clear area instead of your driveway approach. The more snow you clear from this area, the less will be deposited at your driveway entrance.
Some areas of the city have narrow public rights of way. When plowing, the snow may end up on the sidewalk you just shoveled. We apologize for the inconvenience. If your schedule permits, you may want to wait and clear your sidewalk after city plows have passed through your street. We regret that you may find some of this snow on your recently shoveled sidewalk and you have to shovel it again.
Snow plows are emergency vehicles, but typically do not exceed the posted speed limit. Snow plows are large, noisy pieces of equipment. It may appear that the snow plow is driving too fast for road conditions. Many times the engine sound and noise of the plow scraping the pavement gives the perception that the truck is flying down the street, when in actuality, it is only moving at less than 20 miles per hour. Plows do move faster on open stretches of road to push the snow farther off of the road and to ensure there is sufficient space to pile the snow from the next storm. Please remember – do not follow snow plows too closely and give them plenty of room.
Snow may not be pushed into or across the street from private property, per city code. Please keep this in mind when clearing your driveway or sidewalk. If you hire a private service to clear your driveway, let the contractor know.
Residents and property owners are reminded to remove snow, sleet and ice from sidewalks within six hours after the snow or sleet ceases to fall or the ice ceases to form, unless the snow or sleet fell or the ice formed during the night, in which case it shall be removed by 12:00 noon on the following day. The city may open some sidewalks in some higher volume pedestrian areas such as downtown. Even if the city does this, you are still responsible for making sure the sidewalk adjacent to your property is maintained and clear for everyone to use, including those in wheelchairs. If the property is unoccupied, it shall be the responsibility of the property owner to comply with these requirements.
If your mailbox gets struck by a city snow plow, contact the Public Works Department at 332-3892 on normal business days between 8:00am and 4:30pm. We will review the incident with you. If the damage is caused by the city, the mailbox will be replaced with a standard unit. The city uses a 4”x 4” wood post and a standard design metal mail box for replacements. Sorry, but the city will not repair or replace decorative mailboxes and posts. Non-standard mailboxes placed in the public right of way are at the owner’s risk and responsibility.
Remember not to landscape with rocks, bricks, timbers, shrubs and other items in the right of way. Snow plows may cause damage and we do not repair or replace landscape materials. Some residents have irrigation in the right of way. This is done at the owner’s risk and responsibility.
If a city snow plow causes lawn damage, please contact Public Works at 332-3892. You will be placed on a list once for repairs after the winter has ended. Sod and grass damage is restored by city crews with top soil and grass seed.
The Public Works Department works closely with the Police Department, Fire Department, and Staunton Augusta Rescue Squad. Anytime they have an emergency that requires assistance, a snow plow crew is diverted from their regular route to respond and offer immediate assistance.
The City of Staunton Public Works Department thanks you for your patience and understanding during the winter season.