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Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

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11/13/2012 1:44:00 PM
Navajo County gears up for winter snow removal
Snow removal operations to begin after four feet of snow fall
Navajo-Hopi Observer

HOLBROOK, Ariz. - Cooler weather is here and snow season is on the way. Navajo County has not yet experienced snow activity this year, but is sure to get some snow this season. The Navajo County Public Works team has made all appropriate preparations, and is ready for the snow season. Crews equipped trucks with snow blades and cinder spreaders, and cinder material has been stockpiled throughout the county.

"We try to be as proactive as we can with our snow removal efforts," said Assistant County Manager Homero Vela. "Every year is a different experience, but we cover our bases well and we coordinate with our local municipalities and Arizona Department of transportation (ADOT) to best serve the residents of our region. We know that our emergency responders, schools, businesses, tourists and residents need the freedom to get from point A to B without a significant disturbance due to the weather, and we try to accommodate those needs as best we can."

Navajo County Department of Public Works is responsible for snow removal and cindering roads during winter storms on county maintained roads. ADOT and the various municipalities within Navajo County also have similar responsibilities for the roads under their jurisdiction.

Navajo County operates under a Snow Removal Policy which acts as a guideline for snow removal. In general, snow removal operations start after 4 feet of snow accumulation. The policy also determines which roads get snow removal services first.

The first priorities are the bus routes and arterial roads. These classifications are considered the main transportation corridors in the county, and every effort is made to keep these roads safe for traffic during a snow event.

The next priority is the minor and residential roads. The snow removal for these roads is undertaken as resources of the Public Works Department are made available in light of the first priorities.

It is not uncommon for all members of the Navajo County road crews to be engaged in snow removal efforts when there is a significant winter event. If there is a significant and extensive snow event Navajo County crew members will work in 12-hour shifts to maintain snow removal around-the-clock.

During a snow event, the purpose of the initial pass is to open roadways to permit responsible traffic flow. A natural consequence of these initial passes is the creation of windrows (snow berms), which may often affect driveway entrances. When the storm is over and roads are cleared, Navajo County road crews will begin the process of clearing out the windrows on driveways that have been left behind during the snow removal operation. Navajo County does not have the equipment or manpower to address these windrows in the initial phases of snow removal, but the removal of the windrows will be addressed on county maintained roads during the clean-up phase of the operation. Generally, residents can expect windrows to be removed within 24 to 48 hours after the storm has passed.

Navajo County road crews do not have the responsibility to remove snow from driveways and other private property. Road crews cannot work on private property, and therefore driveway snow removal and snow removal from other private areas is the responsibility of each individual resident. It is strongly recommended that each resident make arrangements for snow removal on their private property prior to the arrival of winter storms.

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