Snow dazed: With blizzard threat, Fairfield sets rules of the road
With Fairfield and the rest of the region under a "blizzard watch" from 1 p.m. Monday through midday Wednesday -- check the forecast by the National Weather Service: http://1.usa.gov/1GTAiFo -- here are the rules on local road plowing and snow removal from private properties.
There are 275 miles of streets in Fairfield, and officials say that snow removal can cost up to $4,000 per hour.
Here are the rules, as posted on the town webiste, www.fairfieldct.org.
- PLOW ROUTES: The streets are plowed and salted in order of priority. Main (collector) roads are addressed first with special attention to steep hills, and difficult intersections. Side streets are done next, then dead end streets. Side streets will remain unplowed if the main roads require repeated plowing. This may not seem fair to the residents of side streets or dead ends, but main roads must remain open.
- BLOCKED DRIVEWAYS: All snow plows angle the same way -- to the driver's right -- and when going by they will push the snow in front of a driveway. The homeowner is responsible for access to his driveway. The only way to avoid extra shoveling is to wait until DPW crews have done their final cleanup on the street. After the storm DPW may have to plow the road several times to restore the full width.
- SIDEWALKS: Per town ordinance, Fairfield property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from the sidewalk along their property line within 24 hours after the storm and keeping them clear of snow and ice. Heavily used sidewalks near schools and public buildings, and the commercial areas are particularly important. Please remember to shovel around fire hydrants.
- MAILBOX DAMAGE: The town repairs or replaces only mailboxes and/or posts that are actually struck by a plow blade. Usually a paint mark or truck tire tracks supply evidence of a mailbox strike. The town does not repair or replace mailboxes and/or posts that fall from the force of plowed snow. Mailboxes and supporting posts must be installed to withstand the rigors of snow removal, including the force of snow pushed from the street onto the roadside.
- STREET PARKING: If possible, during a storm residents should park in their driveways and not on the streets. This allows the plows to better clean the whole width of the street. It also lessens the likelihood of damage to the vehicles as a result of plowing. Similar to mailboxes, DPW is only responsible for damage done to a vehicle as a result of the plow blade actually striking the vehicle, not the effect of snow, ice, or salt hitting the vehicle as a result of plowing.
- PRIVATE PLOWING: The town of Fairfield prohibits plow contractors from pushing snow from driveways or parking lots onto town streets. This practice is dangerous and impedes the town's snow removal efforts. If there is no other alternative to pushing snow into the street, the plow driver must plow off the windrow left across the street by re-plowing until the road is safe. This may not necessarily mean bare pavement, but certainly it should be no worse than when the driver began work.
Similar to the state Department of Transportation, the local DPW will be applying only salt. The mixture will be less visible when applied but more effective in reducing ice and packed snow.
Residents who feel they have a question or complaint should call the town garage at 203-256-3177.