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Love it or hate it, winter maintenance is an inevitable part of living in PA where we average 30 inches of snowfall per year. Therefore, as the season approaches we must all prepare for what may fall with our winter maintenance team. The North Londonderry Township Highway Department is committed to providing quality and efficient snow/ice removal for every storm. Crews could be out before a storm, applying brine – an anti-ice material, during – to remove what does fall, and after – to make room for any more that may be coming. In the event of multiple large snowfalls over the season, crews will need to push snow piles further back off the roadway to allow for additional storage of forecasted snowfall.
It is imperative that winter maintenance plows have complete access to these areas, i.e. the curb for the purpose of clearing a path for traffic to flow safely and freely. Cars, trash cans, etc. should be moved off the roadway before a storm. Any precipitation left behind may melt and refreeze creating hazardous conditions for motorists and pedestrians.
Plows push snow off the roadway, they do not lift and carry. It is more efficient and easier mechanically which is why residents should practice pushing when shoveling in order to save their backs! This method allows plows to open roads in a more timely manner. Every storm system is unique and presents its own challenges so we adapt and perform operations accordingly. Multiple factors contribute to when we go out for maintenance: time, traffic volume, air and road temperature, depth of accumulation, etc. Forecasts and actual conditions are closely monitored. As previously mentioned, we often pre-treat roadways with salt brine before any precipitation has fallen. This salt by-product delays the formation of frost and ice on pavement, creating that “crust” often left behind, making snow removal easier by letting plows clear right down to the blacktop. It also reduces the amount of salt needed to treat roadways, diminishing costs and pollutants entering natural waterways that lead to drinking water reservoirs.
If you have a driveway, use it. Plow drivers have an obligation to clear as close to the curb as possible, rolling snow into off-street right-of-ways to allow for two lanes of traffic. If you do not have access to off-street parking, we recommend parking all vehicles on the same side of the street to allow for the largest path to be cleared. Cars parked across the street from each other make it very difficult for plows to maneuver clearing just a single path. Alternate sides from one storm to the next, that way one side doesn’t build up snow/ice and street parking remains readily available.
Take notice of storm drain locations. Crews will be around to clear these areas after heavy storms to allow melting snow or rain to enter the storm water system rather than pool in the roadway. If your car is parked near or on top, this task becomes impossible.
Snow Removal At Home
Due to the nature of street clearing, it is unavoidable for plows to keep exposed driveways & sidewalks clear. Though our winter maintenance team makes every attempt to minimize the impact, it is however the property owners responsibility. Snow may not be placed on or pushed across a township street. This is against ordinance §140-13 Letter E of the Township. Ground and air temperatures vary so we must make every effort to keep the roads clear of potential slip hazards for pedestrians and motorists.
There are numerous recommendations available for residents to ease the anguish of plowed in driveway entrances. They are listed below in hopes that one of them is suitable for your future use.
- Do not blow or shovel into the roadway. It will return to your driveway once the plow comes by and it is illegal to deposit onto Township streets.
- Pile snow to the right of your driveway facing the street.
- Leave the last few feet from the roadway untouched until plows have made their final pass.
- Clear an area to the left of your driveway, along the curb line. This allows the current plow accumulation to empty BEFORE your driveway, at least minimizing the size of the berm left behind as it passes.
Any openings created will need to be maintained by clearing what has emptied into them for future storm accumulations. We regret that this is an inescapable result of plowing operations and are grateful for your patience and accommodations.
Recommendations for clearing sidewalks is very similar to that of clearing driveways, see above. Pile snow away from the road so that it does not get pushed back onto the sidewalk or wait until the final pass of the plow to clear. Ordinance §126-28 requires an owner or occupant to clear sidewalks abutting their property within 24 hours of a storm’s end. The area cleared needs to be at least 3 feet wide and run the entire length of the sidewalk.
Prior to winter, residents are encouraged to assess their mailbox and post for stability. Weak or broken components are not capable of withstanding the rigors of snow removal. Their location within the right-of-way makes them susceptible to snow/ice being cast toward them as it leaves a plow blade. Residents are responsible for the repair or replacement of those that may have been impacted and fallen due to this force.
We understand that this is not always the case and a mistake will occur. Most of the time, plow drivers are aware of their mistake and have already alerted their supervisor. North Londonderry Township will repair or replace mailboxes or posts that show proof of a plow strike. Property owners are encouraged to opens in a new windowinstall mailboxes at the maximum usable distance from the edge of the roadway, per local Postmaster requirements.
Stationary Items in the Right-of-Way Pose a Risk
Any other items such as large rocks, basketball nets, brick/stone mailbox enclosures pose a risk when placed in the right-of-way. This area is designed to allow space for crews to work, therefore property owners will be held responsible for these items and Township winter maintenance equipment if damaged.
It is helpful to all emergency personnel: ambulance, firefighters, and police, to be able to access or see what is necessary to respond in an emergency. This could be your house number or a fire hydrant.
We ask residents to assist in digging out a 360° area around fire hydrants so that they are fully accessible for firefighters to lay hose from the hydrant to a fire. Seconds count here when we acknowledge that 150 to 1,000 gallons per minute of water could be used to extinguish a house fire.
Clearing of Roads
Large capacity arterial roads will receive top priority for winter maintenance. From there secondary routes will be attended to then cul-de-sacs (residents should be aware that there could be at least two (2) areas for the placement of cleared snow within the radius of a cul-de-sac). Exceptions, of course, will be made for emergencies issued by dispatchers. Each plow driver is assigned to a route that they must follow to assure efficiency and effectiveness of operations, like a well-oiled synchronized machine. Unfortunately incidents occur where repairs need to be made during a storm, or there is a need for additional fuel or treatment material. At such a time, a truck may be seen with its plow raised. This does not indicate the completion of their route. A roadway must be cleared from curb-to-curb which may require multiple passes, before drivers move on to the next road.
There are a number of PA state roads that cross through North Londonderry Township that do not receive maintenance from our crews. Here’s a list of those roads and a map to see which areas will be maintained by PENNDOT crews.
- West Ridge Road
- East Ridge Road – North Railroad Street to North Forge Road
- North Forge Road – East Ridge Road to Palmyra Bellegrove Road
- Palmyra Bellegrove Road
- Syner Road
- Gravel Hill Road
- Bindnagles Road
- Lingle Avenue
- Campbelltown Road
- South Forge Road
- Route 422
If the road you live on is on this list and there is a concern, contact 1-800-349-7623 or the District Office at (717) 272-6637. Current road conditions around the state can be found at opens in a new window511pa.com.
Please note: Businesses, shopping centers, apartment complexes, and some townhouse developments are privately maintained and are the responsibility of property owners or management companies.
If you happen to reside in a recently developed neighborhood, check with the Developer or HOA to verify how the winter maintenance will be managed. These roadways may be pending dediction of ownership from the Developer to the Township. If the final layer of asphalt is missing from the roadway, the Developer is responsible for road maintenance. The Township cannot provide services on private property.