How the city plans for its snow removal

The process of snow removal in Susanville comes planned out and isn’t done by how many friends the snowplow operator has on any given street.

At the Susanville City Council’s Jan. 16 meeting, mayor pro tem Joseph Franco mentioned he had recently moved to a new area of Susanville and noticed storm wreckage and snow removal that wasn’t removed in the timeframe he was used to. Franco told staff he hoped the reason had nothing to do with the socioeconomic status of the area. Acting public works director Dan Gibbs told Franco about the city’s snow removal plan, available on the public works department’s website and was adopted in 2012.

Susanville’s Street division of the Public Works Department is responsible for removing the snow from the roadway after heavy snows. The division’s process of snow removal is designed to organize reasonable cost-effective maintenance efforts during periods of snow or ice and is divided into three categories of priority.

However, the plan is discretionary, not mandatory, and is to be considered a guideline only. With approximately 40 miles of roadways within the city, it requires a great deal of cooperation in order to make the plan effective. The plan identifies the city’s main and secondary streets, as well as streets that serve schools and hospitals. It also identifies the order in which these streets are plowed unless there is a large enough accumulation of snow and conditions exist which prevent residents from getting to arterial and collector streets.

The division’s goals surrounding snow removal are twofold. The first is for snow removal personnel to concentrate on keeping the main arterial passable for emergency and high volume traffic flows during snowfalls, and the crews to concentrate efforts on clearing snow from all streets for general public use as promptly as possible after the snowfall subsides. Streets are plowed according to established priorities, which are set based upon traffic volume, public safety and access to emergency facilities and schools.

“Priority One” routes are plowed first. Crews then proceed to streets identified as “Priority Two” routes. Within 24-48 hours of a new event, after the streets with the first two priority levels are passable, subdivision and residential areas are plowed.

During storms with an excess of 12 inches of snowfall, it may take up to 48-72 hours to complete these tasks. In storms of such severity, the city established the goal of seeing that all streets are passable, even if only one lane is clear. The plan also comes with a set of notices for residents to remember during snowy conditions in city limits. During snowy conditions, it is unlawful for any vehicle to be stopped, parked, standing or otherwise left unattended on any street. Any vehicle doing so will be declared an obstruction to the public streets, shall constitute a nuisance and is declared to be an infraction punishable by a fine up to $100.

In the event a police officer finds this violation, they are authorized to remove or cause to be removed any such vehicle with owners responsible for the fees of moving and storage.

Where snowy conditions have existed, parking may be resumed on main streets as soon as snow plowing has been completed on the full width of such streets..