West Jordan residents are tired of their neighborhoods being virtually ignored by snowplows each winter.
City leaders say that this year things are going to change.
“Last January, the council decided that we were going to take a different position on snow removal,” Mayor Kim Rolfe said. “Previously, snowplowing of subdivisions was not a priority. We decided we’re going to be proactive because of the numerous complaints about the ice buildup on residential streets.”
Several years ago, the city council voted to deemphasize the plowing of subdivision streets. The move conserved resources, but it also left residents frustrated as they’ve spent each winter driving on snow-compacted roads.
“Our neighborhood gets missed all of the time, so the road is solid ice for months,” resident Jordan Michel said.
Snowplow drivers will now clear residential roads earlier than in the past to prevent snow compaction. However, most subdivisions still won’t be salted, due to the cost and difficulty of storing larger quantities of the de-icing material.
As in the past, roadways will be cleared on a priority basis. Streets with the highest traffic volume are among the first to be cleared.
When crews are able to keep the main roads clear, they’ll move to subdivision feeder streets, then into the subdivisions. Cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets will be plowed last.
Residents can help make snow removal more effective by being aware of and abiding by city code regarding winter parking. From Nov. 1 to April 30, the city prohibits on-street parking when it’s snowing or snow is present on the streets.
“[Street parking] can really impede the whole snow removal operation. It makes it dangerous for the car owner and our drivers,” Public Services Manager Tim Peters said. “Our drivers are told that if they go down a street and there are cars and it looks impassible, take a picture and send it to code enforcement.”
Refraining from placing portable basketball hoops on the street and promptly removing garbage cans after pickup also helps, he said.
Penalties for not abiding by the code include citations or impounding of vehicles.
In preparation for the increased snow removal efforts, the city recently acquired several new vehicles to be used for plowing and salting in the winter. The remainder of the year, the trucks will be used for paving and cement work.
Also new this year, the city has contracted with the National Weather Service to receive storm updates several times each day.
“It’s a very specific weather forecast. We’ll receive different forecasts for different parts of the city so we’re able to attack the worst parts of the city first,” Public Works Director Wendell Rigby said.