Grangeville’s Main Street during a February 2019 snowstorm

Free Press / David Rauzi

Eastward view down Grangeville’s Main Street during a February 2019 snowstorm.

GRANGEVILLE – A cold problem has the public works department hot under the collar.

Specifically, snow is being plowed from residential areas and pushed into the city streets, compacting under traffic before municipal crews can get to it, and by that time, the plows can’t cut it.

“There’s not many,” said public works director Bob Mager, addressing the Grangeville City Council at its Jan. 21 meeting, “but I’ve got a couple that I can’t stop, and they know I can’t stop it.”

Mager requested to work with city attorney Adam Green on developing an ordinance to give him the authority to bring individuals into compliance from pushing snow off private property into the city street.

“We’re not talking about putting it on the edge of the roadway,” Mager clarified, explaining one instance at a Hall Street residence where the entirety of a 30-foot-by-25-foot driveway is plowed into the middle of the street. “And just leaves it, and he going with a four-wheeler over and over and over it, and packing it down until it’s solid.”

The issue was prefaced with the department’s work on the snow season so far, not as intensive as in some past years, but still requiring a significant effort in both mileage and materials.

So far this year, according to Mager, the three city plows have conducted approximately 1,700 miles of plowing, 200 miles have been accumulated for hauling snow, and between 600 to 700 miles for sanding.

“We’ve put almost 100 tons of sanding material down so far this year,” he said. “Back when I started in 1990, we probably put out 25 ton. We’ve come a long ways.”

Council consensus was in favor of Mager and Green working on an ordinance draft; however, this isn’t likely to be ready to affect this year’s snow season. How it was visioned to work would be similar to how the city manages excessive weed and vegetation growth; at the discretion of city staff – but not police -- who regularly monitor the city to contact residents on remedying the problem.

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