Public Works - Snow Guide

PRACTICAL GUIDE TO SNOW PREPAREDNESS
 
The Public Works Department of Lower Macungie Township is dedicated to the safety of all of our residents. The process of snow removal, which varies due to the intensity of each snow event, is a challenge for all of us. In an effort to prepare our residents for impending snowstorms we offer this guide to keep you informed as to what to expect when it snows.
 
WHAT WE DO
 
Snow Emergencies will be announced via the news media. Anticipated beginning and ending times will be available as part of the Operation Snowflake program that airs on WAEB-AM790 and WAEB-FM B104. Snow information will also be available on the following: WFMZ Channel 69 News, WFMZ 100.7, Alive 107.5, The Hawk 99.9, Cat Country 96.1, www.b104.comwww.waeb.comwww.wzzo.com and www.oldies1470.com and the Township web site at www.lowermac.com.
 
SAFETY FIRST!
 
If a Snow Emergency is declared it is mandatory that all vehicles be moved from Snow Emergency Routes. This allows access to snow plowing equipment so that these roads can remain open to emergency vehicles. Each Snow Emergency Route is clearly marked with signs. Click here for a complete list of Snow Emergency Routes.  Anyone in violation of snow emergency requirements may be subject to fines and costs of up to $1,000.per incident. Vehicles in violation will be towed. Towing charges will be the responsibility of the vehicle owner, payable directly to the towing service and are not part of Lower Macungie Township revenue.
 
We will pre-treat roads as necessary depending upon the storm predictions. Salting will begin immediately until all roads are completed or until it is no longer effective to salt. The more traffic there is on a road, the more effective the salt. As a result some residential streets with lesser amounts of traffic may appear to have not been salted. Also, as the road temperature drops below 26 degrees salt becomes less effective. When plowing begins, salting is limited to severe grades and sharp curves until plowing is complete. After plowing is accomplished, salting operations begin again as needed. All roads are monitored for icy spots.
 
We begin to plow when there is approximately 3” of accumulated snow. Our first responsibility is to keep snow emergency routes and roads outside of developments open to allow for emergency vehicles and school buses. As long as the snow falls this is our priority. We endeavor to maintain 2 lanes of traffic on these roads. After these roads are cleared we begin work on the residential streets. In the event that the snow continues during snow removal, it is unlikely that residential streets will be reached immediately. Cul-de-sacs will be plowed at the same time as other residential streets. Due to the circular design of these streets, it is often difficult to equally distribute the snow along the curb line.
 
We plow from curb to curb with metal blades to clean your roads. This may take several return trips to your neighborhood depending upon the severity of the snow and because of obstructions on your street. We will endeavor to make at least two passes to keep your street open. If cars are parked on the street, our crews will try to remove as much snow as possible. Keep in mind that it is almost impossible to keep snow from being deposited into your driveway during plowing, as the plow cannot be lifted or stopped at each driveway it passes.
 
We will do our best to keep school bus stops as clear as possible. During heavy snow events, it may be difficult to remove all of the snow from these areas. We will communicate with First Student bus company and ask for their determination as to the safety of a bus stop.
 
Note: Our plow trucks do not travel at speeds of more than 20 MPH. Faster speeds create a throw back effect on the windshield. The force of snow being thrown from a plow creates the illusion that the vehicle is moving at a fast rate of speed.
 
Developments we DO NOT currently plow are: Lehigh Crossings, Schaefer Run West and Spring Ridge Crossing.
 
Developments that we PARTIALLY PLOW are: Graymoor, Harvest Fields, Hills at Lockridge.
 
If you are unsure as to whether your road has become a public road and need more information, please call Public Works at (610) 966-4343 (x117).
 
Other Areas …Lower Macungie Township does not plow on State roads, private roads, apartment complexes, private condominiums or manufactured home communities. Click here for a list of State (PennDOT) roads that are located in LMT.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
 
PLEASE HAVE PATIENCESnow removal is a tedious and time-consuming job. LMT is responsible for over 100 miles of roads within the Township. Our crews work many hours under very difficult conditions to keep you safe. Travel should be limited during a snowfall and immediately after, unless absolutely necessary. With less traffic on the roads our operations can be accomplished in a more timely and efficient manner. Please don’t call; unless it is urgent. When crews are removed from normal routes, it slows down the overall efforts. If a call warrants immediate attention, the information is dispatched. The crew will take care of the problem as soon as possible. And remember, a friendly smile or wave means a lot to our crew.
 
WAITAs we clean your street; we have no place to push the snow except to the curb line. Be aware that if you clean your driveway, sidewalk or mailbox before we are finished with your street, it will quite possibly be plowed back in. This is unavoidable so please save yourself the aggravation and wait until we have made our final pass.
 
SNOW REMOVAL TIP… If your driveway is cleared before the street is completed, clear an area to the left of the driveway entrance (standing in the driveway, facing the street). When your street is plowed, the snow from the plow can be unloaded in this area instead of your driveway. The more snow you can clear from this area, the less will be deposited at your driveway entrance.


DO NOT SHOVEL SNOW INTO THE ROADWAYS... This practice is illegal under the State Motor Vehicle Code and LMT Ordinance 2010-12 and, it is extremely hazardous. You could be subject to fines. Property owners are also advised that they are responsible for any actions of snow removal services that they hire.
 
MOVE YOUR VEHICLES to off-street parking whenever possible. Parked cars are a hindrance and a hazard to our snow removal efforts.
 
REMOVE OTHER OBSTRUCTIONS such as garbage cans, recycling containers and trailers... If we are in a snow emergency, Waste Management will probably not pick up on your scheduled day. Don’t put your trash out if this is the case. Check our website www.lowermac.com for updates on trash delays or listen to Operation Snowflake. Do NOT call Waste Management.
 
SIDEWALKSare the responsibility of the property owner. The ordinance requires that all sidewalks must be cleared within 48 hours after the snowfall has subsided. Fines of up to $600.00 can be assessed. If you have a fire hydrant on your property, please clear the snow away from the area around it. School bus stops must also be kept clear of snow on sidewalks.
 
MAILBOXESIt is your responsibility to clear out your mailbox area and keep it open for access by the U.S. Postal Service. In the event of a major snowfall, if your box cannot be accessed, the Postal Service will try for three consecutive days to deliver your mail. On the 4th day, they will hold your mail at your local Post Office for pick up. As soon as your carrier determines that your box is again accessible, they will resume delivering to your home. Make sure that your mailbox is sturdy and can withstand the force of the snow being cast off the plow. Common causes of mailbox damage are: mailboxes positioned too close to the roadway, open doors, unstable posts and over-sized boxes that are improperly placed. If you are not sure about proper positioning of your mailbox, as a quick check, stand at your mailbox and look down the street. It should be in a straight line with the other mailboxes on your street with the front of the door 6” to 8” behind the curb. Any damages that occur are the responsibility of the homeowner, unless the plow truck directly strikes the mailbox. If you believe this is the case, call Public Works after the storm has subsided, within 48 hours, and we will evaluate the damage to determine responsibility. Please leave the box outside and visible. As soon as possible, after the snow event, a member of our crew will come out to check your damage. You will be notified as to our decision. We will not make appointments to inspect your damaged mailbox.
 
OTHER DAMAGE Any objects placed within the right of way by the property owner including trees, shrubs or lawns are not the responsibility of the Township in the case of plow damage. The legal right of way extends at least 16 ½ feet from the middle of local roads, and more for collector and arterial roads and roads within subdivisions.
 
REMEMBER…We are all trying to achieve the same goal of keeping our roadways safe and traffic moving. During snow events SAFETY is paramount, convenience is secondary. Hopefully, we can work together to achieve these goals.

Phone Numbers
 
LMT Public Works (610) 966-4343
PA State Police- Fogelsville (610) 395-1438
US Postal Service (610) 966-3672
East Penn School District (610) 966-8300
 
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