MT. PLEASANT—The heavy snowstorm that hit Dec. 30-31 brought welcome relief to water concerns, but brought an avalanche of complaints over inadequate snow removal in Mt. Pleasant.
One of the heaviest storms in a few years created hazardous driving conditions, which some residents felt were exacerbated by a poor response by the Public Works Department.
Resident Shanae Harward complained about cars sliding off the roads. Although the problem occurred late in the week, she claims hazardous conditions still existed around Mt. Pleasant Elementary and North Sanpete High School when school started the next Monday, Jan. 3. (See Harward’s letter to the editor on the Opinion page.)
Another letter to the editor, which the Messenger did not print because it was anonymous, said essentially the same thing.
Coulter Allan, Mt. Pleasant public works director, said he understands the concerns. At the time of the heavy snowfall, he said, his department was down two people due to illness and personal time off. But he says snowy conditions require public cooperation as well as prompt snow removal.
“We have people following too closely, racing around our snowplows, and generally creating hazardous conditions for us while we’re trying to make the roads safer for them. We beg the public to slow down and give our drivers the space they need to do their jobs.”
Allan said a major part of the problem was how the snow came. “We were out early to clear the roads but just couldn’t keep up with the snowfall rate.”
He said his crews salted the roads, but after the snow melted, temperatures dropped, creating ice. Then more snow fell on top of an ice layer that was difficult for the plows to break through.
Allan cited some of the problems his plow drivers encounter that make it impossible to do an adequate job of clearing the snow. “People leave cars parked at the curb or garbage cans in the road instead of on the driveway. We have to drive around these obstacles instead of clearing that section of the road.”
When asked if the poor condition of Mt. Pleasant roads presented any special challenges, Allan said they do. “We have to be careful to not make the pothole problem worse. We use special plows that have a rubber blade ahead of the steel blade, which isn’t as hard on the roadway.”
“People push their driveway snow all the way into the road which creates large piles of snow that eventually melt and deteriorate the road shoulder and erode the road base, creating the perfect environment for new pothole formation,” he added.
On a brighter note, Allan said he wants to thank Mt. Pleasant citizens for their generally good cooperation during snow emergencies. He said it takes all of us to get through these things, and the people of Mt. Pleasant are the very best.