OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – Less than a week ago, the first snowstorm of the year hit Ogden. Over the span of two days, first responders were dispatched to multiple small car accidents across the city.
Tonight, another big storm is expected to make its way across northern Utah. In Ogden, 25 snowplows are prepped and ready to roll out as soon as the snow starts to stick on the streets.
“We have night crews and our standby crews that are out and about watching,” Ogden City Public Service Operations Manager Vincent Ramos told ABC4.
Ramos explained that 25 drivers are ready to board 25 vehicles and get on the roads as the upcoming snowstorm approaches. He said there are an additional nine employees who are charged with removing snow from city sidewalks. If multiple storms hit, employees from the city’s water department may be called in to help alleviate some of the stress on the streets department.
“We cover about 300 lane miles in Ogden City,” Ramos stated. Along with a fleet of vehicles, the city has tons of salt. Literally. Inside what looks like a giant tent, a mountain of pink and white salt stands around 30 feet tall. This mountain is expected to last the city the entire snow season.
How much salt does the city need? “On each lane mile,” explained Ramos, “We dump about 100 pounds of salt.” With more than 300 lane miles of road, the city could use up to 30,000 pounds of salt after one storm.
“We try to be done within 15 hours, so we start off with our priority roads,” Ramos said. “We’re going to hit around the hospitals, the schools, the hills.” After that, Ramos said the crews move to neighborhoods.
After a snowstorm, residents need to move their vehicles off the road. That’s not all they should do. “When they’re cleaning off their driveways and sidewalks, have them put the snow between the sidewalk and curb,” Ramos explained. “If they push it back into the road, it can cause ice issues later.”
This, he said, is similar to what happens when vehicles aren’t moved off the street before being plowed. The left-over snow creates ice hazards later. He said plows will unfortunately leave snow at the entrance of driveways. Homeowners are responsible for moving that snow between the curb and sidewalk as well.
Homeowners should also know where to put their trashcans. When taking cans to the street, Ramos explained that they should be placed in a flat area on the road and not a snow mound. If the can is too high, the arms on the garbage trucks cannot reach it.
Ramos told ABC4 the most important thing residents can do is have patience around the snowplows. Driving too closely behind one may lead to a cracked windshield. He said the plows are also very heavy, so when a car cuts a plow off, it is difficult for the driver to stop the truck quickly.