Snow Plows: A Westport Primer

As Westport prepares for heavy snow, high winds and coastal flooding — because hey, 2020 — the Department of Public Works reminds us:

PLOW ROUTES. Streets are plowed and sanded in order of priority. Main (collector) roads are addressed first, with special attention to steep hills and difficult intersections.

Side streets are done next, then dead-end streets. A single pass will be made on side streets to keep them open, but primary emphasis will be placed on main roads until the storm has stopped. This may not seem fair to the residents of side streets or dead-end streets, but main roads must remain open.

BLOCKED DRIVEWAYS. All snowplows angle the same way: to the driver’s right. They cannot avoid pushing snow in front of a driveway. Homeowners are responsible for access to their driveway. The only way to avoid extra shoveling is to wait until DPW crews have completed their final clean up on the street.

FOLLOWING PLOWS. Never follow a plow too closely, or attempt to pass one. Plow trucks weigh several tons and have many blind spots; snowplows cannot maneuver easily or stop quickly, and drive slowly when clearing and treating roads; reduced speed allows salt to stay in travel lanes, limiting the amount that scatters off the road. This saves taxpayer money and minimizes environmental impacts.

Plowing can also create a cloud of snow around the truck that causes limited visibility and whiteout conditions for passing motorists. It also creates a ridge of snow between lanes that makes passing inadvisable. Stay several car lengths behind plow trucks!

Westport’s Public Works guys, in action a few years ago. (Photo/Luke Hammerman for Inklings)

SIDEWALKS. Businesses are responsible for keeping all sidewalks along their property clear of snow and ice.

MAILBOX DAMAGE. The town repairs or replaces only mailboxes and/or posts that are struck by a plow blade. Usually a paint mark or tire tracks supply evidence of a mailbox strike. The town does not repair or replace mailboxes and/or posts that fall from the force of plowed snow. Mailboxes and supporting posts must be installed to withstand the rigors of snow removal, including the force of snow pushed from the street onto the roadside.

PRIVATE PLOWING. The town prohibits plow contractors from pushing snow from driveways or parking lots onto town streets. It is dangerous, and impedes the town’s snow removal efforts. If there is no other alternative to pushing snow into the street, the plow driver must plow off the windrow left across the street by re-plowing until the road is safe. This may not necessarily mean bare pavement, but it should be no worse than when the driver began work.

Questions? Call Public Works: 203-341-1120.

One response to “Snow Plows: A Westport Primer

  1. THANK GOODNESS THE TOWN PLOWS OUT STREETS. WITHOUT THEM WE WOULD ALL HAVE TO LEARN HO !W TO CROSS COUNTRY SKI !!!!! FUN FOR SOME . . .NOT FOR OTHERS

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