The state of Midvale’s snow plows this winterOct 26, 2020 03:25PM ● By Erin Dixon
Winter in the Salt Lake Valley can be challenging to navigate. (Pixabay)
By Erin Dixon | [email protected]
The first snow is on its way. What will happen on Midvale streets this year?
Complaints with Midvale City snow removal are common. When City Journals asked a Facebook group called “Midvale Residents” for experiences, 11 residents voiced dissatisfaction, none came forward with a positive opinion.
Hollie Nichol-Valenzuela said, “When driving on Ft. Union Blvd. in Midvale [I’m] sliding all over the road because of the poor snow removal. As soon as you cross the intersection at 1300 East where it becomes Cottonwood Heights, the roads are clear and not icy or slippery whatsoever.”
Another concern for residents is when cars are parked on the side of the road, even though the City asks residents to keep roads clear during the winter months.
Amanda June Gundersen said, “The only complaint I have is they say ‘no parking on the road between these months so the plows can be more effective.’ But, nobody enforces it in my neighborhood so when they plow it can't be done very well. The plows are trying to get around all the cars.”
Some residents say they have to make a call to the City for their street to be cleared at all. Amanda Lynn Kavanagh said, “I have lived in a cul-de-sac in Midvale since 2011. I had to call every [time it] snowed for the plow to come clear…It was frustrating.”
Some roads in Midvale are the responsibility of UDOT such as State Street and 7200 South, west of State Street. The rest of the city sidewalks and roads are cared for by Midvale City. Does the City have what it takes to keep up with snow demands?
Public Works has two 10-wheeler plows with salters, four small plows with smaller salters, and four trucks that move snow but have no salters.
Midvale City has a goal to plow all streets within a day, but excess snow and improperly parked cars are a problem for the plow truck drivers, too.
“Six inches or more is considered not normal for our area. We try to get the city done in 24-hours but under those conditions it doesn’t usually happen. Some of the other limitations include abandoned or improperly parked vehicles, traffic congestion, garbage cans, etc.,” said Al Hoyne, Public Works operations superintendent.
Keeping ice off roads takes salt, which the City used more of last winter than in previous years. On average, they used 150 to 200 tons of salt in a 12-hour period. Salt costs $23 a ton, which means one storm can cost $3,450 to $4,600 just for salt. Will the City have enough funds to provide salt through the winter? Last year, Public Works needed to rely on some extra funding from the operations budget, but they won’t be able to do that this year.
“Our salt budget as it stands currently is $19,000. However...we will be requesting an additional $8,000 in an upcoming budget amendment with Council,” Public Works Director Glen Kennedy said.
Pre-COVID, Public Works asked for $2,000 more than they are now.
Councilmember Dustin Gettel asked if anything else would be different because of the pandemic.
“Is our snow plan going to be impacted in any way?” Gettel asked.
“Our resources are spread thin. If we have equipment breakdown or anybody is out sick, or if we have a mass COVID quarantine, this will affect our operations this winter. It gets tricky to predict when you need to send someone home to get some sleep,” Kennedy said.
“There will be pros and cons. There will be less traffic but more cars on the roads because people are home,” Kennedy said.