December 8, 2010

Opinions mixed on city’s snow removal efforts

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

With more than 15 inches of snow falling in November, it’s obvious that snow removal has been on the minds of Watford City city workers as well as Watford City residents. However, the thoughts of the two groups are very different.
While Watford City City Engineer/Administrator Lowell Cutshaw feels that the city has been doing a good job of keeping the streets plowed, some city residents feel a bit different. Residents have complained that it’s taking too long for the city to get snow off the streets, and when they do, the streets are left with only one- way traffic because the plows aren’t going to the curb.
“We really haven’t had many complaints,” says Cutshaw. “The biggest complaints we hear are about people who get a snow berm in their driveway from the plow, and there is nothing we can do about that.”
In an effort to keep snow out of driveways, crews use snow gates.
“The snow gates make the berm smaller than it would be without, but there is no way to eliminate the berm,” states Cutshaw. “Even worse is that when there is a lot of snow, the snow falls over the top of the snow gate making it virtually ineffective.”
A complaint being heard around town is that the city has been slow at getting to the snow this year.
According to Cutshaw, any slow reaction to the snow should be attributed to equipment problems and holidays.
“Normally, when the snow ends the crews get out there,” says Cutshaw. “After the four-day Thanksgiving holiday, there was so much garbage that we couldn’t allow the garbage guys to move snow until the garbage collection was finished.”
As far as not having the streets opened all the way, Cutshaw says that is not the city, but its residents’ fault.
“It’s been really hard for snow crews to get to the curb because of vehicles being parked on the street,” comments Cutshaw. “In an effort to get the streets clean, we have been working with the local police to get the vehicles moved or towed.”
According to Cutshaw, vehicles being left on the street for more than 48 hours after it snows are subject to being towed at the owner’s expense.
“The police department has been contacting vehicle owners, and any vehicle not moved within 48 hours of that contact will be towed,” adds Cutshaw. “This past weekend, we had seven vehicles that were on the list to be towed. We started contacting owners on Monday, Nov. 29, so they had a week to move the vehicles.”
City crews were out over the weekend moving snow piles and cleaning streets. Hopefully, their hard work paid off, leaving residents more pleased with the condition of area streets.