Meet John Doe: Snow plowing tips for local residents

Paul Gorski
Paul Gorski

By Paul Gorski

I wrote this snow plowing article in 2002 on behalf of Cherry Valley Township with input from other public sources. These suggestions still apply today and to most other units of government responsible for snow removal on local roads.

Winter is here and Cherry Valley Township is prepared for the snowy season. You can help our crews do a better job of clearing snow in a timely and economic way. There will always be some streets plowed first and some last. We operate on routes designed to best utilize our equipment and to give the fastest, most economical service possible. The timing and severity of a snowfall affect the method and success of snow removal. There are times when it is impossible to make progress, and we may have to delay starting or pull off the road, and there are times and conditions where we may only plow to keep roads open.

Your understanding and cooperation is important to our efforts. Even with the best planning, things can go wrong. Snow crews can operate all hours of the night, so your patience and assistance can go a long way. Here are specific issues you can help with:

• OBSTRUCTIONS — Some residents landscape their yards close to the roads. Please be aware that there are deep right-of-ways in front of all homes, which the homeowner does not own. These right-of-ways serve many purposes, including allowing crews to push snow off the pavement several feet to make room for future snowfalls. Damage to any obstruction (posts, boulders, railroad ties, etc.) on the right-of-way will be the responsibility of the homeowner, as these obstructions are in violation of state statutes.

• MAILBOXES — Winter can be hard on mailboxes. By their nature, mailboxes are in conflict with efforts to clear snow from the roads. There are times under difficult winter conditions that we may knock down a mailbox. If the mailbox is properly located and maintained, Cherry Valley Township will replace a damaged mailbox with a regulation box. (Sorry, no fancy replacements.) Each property owner is responsible for the condition of their mailbox and the approaches to them. Poorly maintained mailboxes may be lost to conditions other than damage by a plow. The homeowner is responsible for all damage other than a plow striking their mailbox.

• DRIVEWAYS — An unavoidable result of plowing snow is a ridge of snow along the road and at the end of driveways. Our operators do what they can to minimize this when possible. You can help by piling the snow you shovel off your driveway to the right side. (The side away from approaching traffic.)

• CUL-DE-SACS — Cul-de-sacs are a peaceful place to live, but they pose challenges. Cul-de-sacs are difficult to plow and cause some other problems for road crews. Please be understanding of the additional problems they cause for snow removal crews.

• STUCK VEHICLES — Please do not ask us to assist in pulling out stuck vehicles. We cannot accept the liability, nor do we have the proper equipment to do this. Call a local towing company should you get stuck.

Please call your local highway official if you have questions regarding snow removal in your neighborhood. Thank you and have a safe winter.

Paul Gorski ( is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.

From the Jan. 14-20, 2015, issue

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