Snow Removal Efforts and Policy

Gorham Public Works employees are ready for winter's rain, snow and ice.  Because winter can be trying for motorists, it is important for you to know how snow removal and ice control will be carried out.  On behalf of the Department of Public Works, I wish to extend our appreciation for your cooperation, and wish you a very pleasant and safe winter.  Please drive carefully.

Robert J. Burns, Jr., Director of Public Works


3 Tips to Help Improve Snow Removal Efforts
 

Tip 1:  If a storm is anticipated, remove vehicles from the roadside shoulders.  This allows plows to clear the area the first time through without having to return to clean it up later.

Tip 2:  If possible, wait until the roadway has been plowed before cleaning out the end of your driveway,  There is no practical way to plow the roadways without depositing snow into your driveway.

Tip 3:  Help reduce the possibility of a broken mailbox post.  The Towns plow operators are urged to take precautions to avoid hitting mailbox posts.  However, experience has shown that with reduced visibility during a storm, it is not always possible for a driver to see a post in time to avoid striking it with the wing of the plow.  Any installation within the road right of way, including a mailbox, is placed there at the owner's risk.  Therefore, owners are encouraged to put mailboxes at the maximum usable distance from the roadway pavement.  Posts should also be checked for deterioration to reduce the possibility of their being broken off simply by the weight of the snow.

Public Works Snow Removal Process

 
Ride along with Gorham Public Works in video footage HERE, courtesy of the GoCAT team, as they explain and demonstrate the snow removal process to keep the roadways clear during snow events.

When Snowfall Starts
 

An important step in dealing with snowfall is street salting.  Top priority is given to the Town's main roads.  Those roads are routes that the Town has found to have the heaviest year-round traffic and usually are major arteries running north/south or east/west.  Snow removal operations begin when frozen precipitation begins falling.  All operations begin by salting the streets and continue until the streets are clear or it is no longer effective due to the depth of the snow.

As the Snowfall Continues
 

When two to three inches of snow have accumulated and more is expected, snow is removed by plowing rather than salting.  All public roads will be plowed by Public Works personnel.

Our first responsibility is to open the main roads.  The plows then continue to all other streets on the route to “open up” each one in sequence.  If the storm continues in intensity, the trucks remain in the same pattern until the storm abates.  When the storm has passed, the trucks then begin to “widen out” all roads by pushing the accumulated snow back to the curb line and clearing the intersections.  Remember that trained crews work around the clock during such storms to keep the roads open and passable.

After the Storm is Over
 

Crews continue to monitor all roads for icy spots and areas where winds redeposit the snow in traffic lanes.  Usually an application of salt and /or sand is applied to all streets so the riding surface remains drivable.  Crews are also dispatched to clear catch basins so that melting snow can run off.  You may avoid a potential problem and also be of assistance to your neighbors if you clean off the catch basin or shovel out a nearby fire hydrant.

Help Us Help You
 

A heavy snowfall can be very frustrating because it disrupts the normal flow of everyday living.  Here are some tips to help eliminate some of that frustration.

Be Prepared:

Before it snows, remember last year's problems and try to tackle them in advance.  If you do your own snow removal, have your tools and supplies handy.  Shovels, snowblowers, sand and rock salt should be ready before the season.  Residents may obtain two 5-gallon pails of sand from the Public Works Garage during work hours.

If you hire someone to do the job for you, make those arrangements early. It's tough to find someone in the middle of a storm.  A helpful hint: When shoveling out the mouth of your driveway throw the snow to the right of “Downstream.”  Do not throw it in the road, it will only be redeposited when the plow around again.  In addition, a patch of snow or ice on a clear road will cause a hazardous condition.

Make arrangements to have adequate food supplies early.  Most of our traffic slowdowns are caused by vehicles not equipped with snow tires or chains.  Most of all, use common sense.  Do not go out during or immediately after a snowstorm unless it is truly necessary.  Crews have many hours of hard work to complete their snow clearing operation.  Less traffic during a storm means that we will be able to clear the roads more quickly and completely.

Listen for Storm Alerts:

Area news media will announce approaching storms and will disseminate information on school closings and meeting cancellations.  They will also note road closings or rerouting.

Remember there is no parking on any public road or public easement roadway from November 1 to May 1, midnight to 6:00 am or during any parking ban declared by the Public Works Department,  Vehicles parked illegally or abandoned on roads are subject to towing at the owner's expense as well as ticketing by the police.  Please remove your car from the street as soon as you are aware of a snow alert.

Be Patient:

Remember, whether it is your driveway for which you are responsible or the 130 miles of roads that the Town is responsible for, snow removal is an arduous and time consuming job.

The Town will be well aware of any impending snowstorm and will alert crews before the bad weather is due to arrive.  If you have called about a legitimate driving hazard, we will attend to it as soon as possible.  Please understand the Town cannot shovel ridges or wind rows from your driveway that were left by the snowplow, nor can the Town crews plow private property.

If Problems or Medical Emergency:

If there is a problem concerning road conditions, call the Department of Public Works at 892-9062.  If there is a medical emergency, call the Gorham Dispatch Center at 911.