Glenwood Springs to try snowblowers to clean streets faster
The first snowflakes of the season may be a ways off yet, but Glenwood Springs city officials are already on top of planning for better snow removal practices after a particularly difficult 2015-16 late fall and winter.
City Council last week agreed to a recommendation by city Public Works Director Robin Millyard to try a pilot snowblower project this coming winter in order to remove snow from Grand Avenue and key feeder streets in a more timely manner after big snowstorms.
The effort will be primarily focused in the higher-traffic areas, including Grand Avenue and the downtown core between Seventh and 11th streets, as well as parts of Sixth Street and the Polo Road and Hyland Park neighborhoods.
The city plans to lease a front-mounted snowblower, at a cost of $7,200 per month, to use on the city’s existing John Deere loaders. A blower could be purchased for anywhere from $75,000 to $180,000, but council agreed it would be best to give the new procedure a trial before committing to it long term.
In addition, the city may want to rent a second motor grader to speed up the process of making the center windrows on some of the key streets, which the blower will then come through to remove, Millyard said.
That is expected to cost another $7,500 to $11,000 per month, plus the extra cost for contract dump truck services provided by Gould Construction, which is used to haul the snow to storage yards near the high school and by the city airport, he said.
“Depending on the storm intensity and duration, this operation may last for two to three days,” Millyard advised in a memo to City Council for a Sept. 1 work session discussion.
Snow removal crews would likely work a 10- to 12-hour day, he said, bringing the cost to around $21,000 a day between equipment rental and contract truck hauling. That would be in addition to thee city’s normal snowplowing and removal efforts, he said.
“This is going to be an expensive operation,” Millyard said.
While “apprehensive” about the costs and the overall effectiveness, not to mention how taxing it could be on city workers, Millyard said he is looking forward to giving it a try.
“I do think everybody is going to be better served by this kind of an operation, and right now this is what makes the most sense,” he told council.
Another emphasis will be on clearing Grand Avenue in the downtown core from curb to curb so that snow and ice doesn’t build up in the on-street parking areas, Millyard said.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is responsible for plowing Grand Avenue, since it’s a state highway. But the city is charged with removing the snow that is plowed to the middle and sides.
“Our intention is to keep that buildup from happening,” Millyard said.
Council members also suggested that the city begin warning residents along side streets downtown to remove any vehicles parked on the street in order to allow for adequate plowing and removal in those areas.
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