The Sheet lays out the plow policies for the Town of Mammoth Lakes, addresses some gripes
Opinions on snow removal are like icicles—right now, everybody’s got one. With the massive storm that hammered Mammoth for the past week, there were complaints from residents about the way the Town of Mammoth Lakes (TOML) plows handled the first big storm in half a decade.
“There was a berm in front of my house for thirteen hours,” said one resident who lives in the Knolls. “I flagged down the plow driver and he told me, ‘If you don’t like it, move to Bishop, that’s what I did.’”
Indeed, according to Public Works Director (and acting Town Manager, as Dan Holler is currently on a service mission with his church in Uganda) Grady Dutton, a high percentage of the Town’s plow drivers do live in Bishop—so many that the Town of Mammoth Lakes offered them free rooms overnight at the Mammoth Creek Inn during the worst of the storm.
The Town of Mammoth Lakes plows all of the roads in Mammoth, save State Route 203, which is maintained by Caltrans.
“We have a system, and it works,” the plow driver reportedly told the Knolls resident. Dutton echoed that sentiment. The TOML Snow Management Policy, as stated on the Town’s website, says that the Town is responsible for approximately 104 lane miles of roads, and that it takes Town crews approximately 12 hours to plow every street in town and 20 hours to blow each street “during normal storms [up to one foot six inches of snow fall].”
“Here’s the situation,” Dutton told The Sheet on Tuesday, January 10, “the dry storm we had back in December, we had about 2 feet of nice dry snow. It’s very easy for a plow to go down with a blower after [that] to clear the street. With this wet stuff, the blower slows down to about one mile an hour. You could walk past it. It just cannot move this heavy stuff, so we have been way behind…the blower just can’t operate that fast.”
The Town’s “Priority Order’ places “support for emergency responses” as priority number one, followed by main arterials and bus routes, secondary residential streets, cul-de-sacs, the scenic loop, park and ride lot, sidewalks and trails, bus shelters, and traffic signals and pedestrian beacons. However, “when snowfall exceeds the ability of Town crews to successfully perform normal operations throughout the Town,” priorities 3-9 (beginning with secondary residential streets) are suspended.