UMT Snow Removal: Rules & Regulations
Like police and fire protection, snow removal on Upper Macungie’s 130 miles of roads is a service that can be critical to the health and safety of Township citizens. Our crews work around the clock to keep your streets safe. In an effort to continually improve Township snow removal service, the Public Works Department wants you to know more about our efforts and to answer your most frequently asked questions about snow removal.
When does snow removal begin? When the Road Department receives word from the forecasting service that a storm is on the way, the crews begin preparation so that they may be on the streets as soon as possible. Township crews start by spreading salt on the streets. When approximately 3” of snow has accumulated, the crews will begin to plow the streets.
When will my street be plowed? Depending on the severity of the snowstorm, residential streets are usually plowed in this order: arterial and collector roads will be plowed first; secondary roads and cul-de-sacs will be plowed after main roads have been cleared within 18 hours after the storm ends. Of course, a blizzard could cause the time period to be longer.
Will my cul-de-sac be plowed? Cul-de-sacs will be plowed with the other residential streets. Due to the circular design of these streets, it is often difficult to equally distribute the snow along the curb line. Do not become alarmed if one area of the cul-de-sac has more snow after plowing than another.
Should we move our cars from the street? When a storm is forecasted, move vehicles to off-street parking when possible and keep vehicles off the street until after plowing is completed. Parked cars can be both a hazard and hindrance to snow removal efforts. This allows plows to clear the entire roadway the first time through, making return trips unnecessary.
How wide of a path will plows clean? If possible, the plows will clean your street curb to curb. However, this is not always possible because of parked cars on the street. When cars are parked on the streets, the crews will try to remove as much snow as possible.
What about driveways and sidewalks? When cleaning your street, the crews have no place to push the snow except to the curb, this creates the unavoidable problem of already cleaned sidewalks and driveways being covered with snow. The best solution to avoid this situation is to wait until the streets have been cleared before cleaning driveways and sidewalks. Remember: do NOT shovel snow from driveways into roadways. This practice is illegal under the state motor vehicle code and is also hazardous. The Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code provides for a maximum fine of $300.00 for this violation. Property owners are reminded that they are responsible for the actions of anyone they hire for snow removal. The accompanying diagram shows how to clear snow from your property. If cleared properly, the plow’s blade has a chance to “unload” its build up of snow passing your driveway.
What if my mailbox becomes covered with snow? Your mailbox and the access to it for the U.S. Postal Service is the responsibility of the resident. Again, because the crews have no place to put the snow, curbside mailboxes may become blocked. Heavy snow coming off the plows may damage mailboxes. This is not intentional, but does occasionally happen. Please make sure your mailbox is sturdy and in good repair. The Township will not be responsible for repairs/replacements to mailboxes, fences or shrubs placed within the legally defined rights-of-ways of its road. The homeowner is responsible for replacing/repairing a mailbox damaged by plowed snow, unless they are actually struck by the snow removal vehicle. If this has occurred, please go to the Township office and fill out a complaint form. This is the only way that the Township will address this issue.
My lawn or landscaping was damaged by a snowplow, what should I do? As with any objects that are placed within the legal road right of way by the property owner, the Township will not be responsible for correction or replacement if so damaged during the course of snow removal. The individual property owner is responsible for marking their lawn edge with a reflective-type stake or marker.
Upper Macungie Township’s snow removal operators are human, and during a storm they work long hours trying to do their best for the benefit of all. Please do not abuse them or the Berks-Lehigh Regional Police may be contacted.