With the recent snowfall, we have received several inquiries about the City’s road and sidewalk clearing procedures. The City is required by State law to maintain roadways for emergency access, access to public utilities, and to facilitate the delivery of mail. Therefore, first priority is given to clearing streets of snow. Additionally, many of our residents are dependent on public services such as “Meals on Wheels,” home health care, prescription drug delivery, etc. Without safe passage for cars and trucks, some of our residents may go without necessary services.
In addition to road plows, the City has five plows for sidewalk maintenance. Like roads, sidewalk priorities are based on areas that have the highest pedestrian volumes and those deemed essential for maintaining public access to essential services and utilities. When priority sidewalks are clear, Public Works crews will move on to clear additional sidewalks. We will continue clearing sidewalks until we are done or there is another snowstorm.
Clearing snow from sidewalks is difficult and equipment breakdowns are common. Unlike the street plows that push snow, sidewalk-clearing equipment uses blowers to collect and blow snow out of the sidewalk. Ice and debris are often caught in the blowers causing them to break down. In addition, the narrow streets in the older and more developed areas of Bangor are problematic for sidewalk clearing because snow storage is limited. The lack of space to put snow can slow the City’s clearing effort.
On Christmas day, all crews were in plowing, including five sidewalk plows that worked through to December 26. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has not been cooperative this past week, with temperatures lower than normal. De-icing chemicals such as salt and brine work well up until 5 degrees to 10 degrees above 0. Any colder and deicing agents are simply not effective. Nonetheless, we have applied deicing chemicals on the ground with the hopes that even 1 hour above 5 or 10 degrees will make some difference with ice.
Here are some ways in which the public can help –
1. Help prevent equipment breakdowns by clearing trash and debris from your sidewalks; and
2. When plowing and blowing your own driveway try to divert the snow to your lawn and do not block sidewalks or roadways; and
3. If possible, help a neighbor or clear a hydrant.
The City and our Public Works Crews understand the frustration that residents have with snow clearing and we will continue to work hard to complete the job. We are doing our best to get the streets and sidewalks cleared. With several months of winter remaining, we appreciate the public’s understanding and cooperation!