SALT LAKE CITY — On average, Utah is blanketed in world-class snow by more than 25 winter storms annually. As more winter weather rolls in this weekend, the Utah Department of Transportation would like to remind residents that it is illegal to remove snow from their own property and put it in the road.
When left in the street, the snow can become both dangerous and obstructive to snowplows, UDOT told KSL.com in a recent news release.
“The removal of snow and ice from the state highway infrastructure is work of great importance and is classified as an emergency operation taking precedence above all other work,” Lisa Wilson, UDOT Region One Director, said in the news release. “Highways are cleared as quickly as possible, even though this involves working extra hours, nights, weekends and holidays.”
She added that snow moved into the street by home and business owners creates unsafe driving conditions. The snow can freeze and stick to the road, which damages snowplows. Wilson believes that while this is dangerous to the operators, it also brings unnecessary expenses to taxpayer dollars.
The concern is not just convenience-based, either. Section 72-7-303 of the Utah Criminal and Traffic Code strictly prohibits the moving of snow off of property and into roads.
“We respectfully ask for property owners' cooperation in observing this law and refraining from placing such material on the public right-of-way is appreciated,” Wilson said. “Should property owners elect to continue this practice, they could be cited for failure to observe the law.”
Best practices in removing snow
- Shovel it: One of the fastest and most eco-friendly ways to remove snow from driveways and sidewalks is to shovel it. If time or physical constraints are too big of an obstacle, pay a kid in the neighborhood some money to do it for you.
- Use a snowblower: A fast and easy, albeit more expensive, way to plow snow, snowblowers efficiently launch it off to one side. Just make sure it’s not aimed at the road.
- Snow Melt Mats: These mats can be built in below driveways to heat them from underneath, causing the snow to melt. They are costlier in terms of installation and electricity but are highly convenient and effective.
- Sand and birdseed: Dispersing sand and birdseed around driveways and walkways will help roughen the snow and ice to provide traction and prevent slipping.
Winter can be both fun and safe, as long as proper precautions are taken to deal with snow removal.