TWIN FALLS — As winter continues, residents are anticipating the first significant snowstorm of the year. Since the Magic Valley has experienced only minor snowfalls, the city of Twin is now taking added levels of precaution to limit the severity of bad conditions on the roads from other potential inclement weather.
Perhaps the most outstanding precaution now would be how the city has expanded its coverage and usage of snowplows to keep the streets clean with sand, de-icing agent, and salt brine. The city has also been doing the same with sidewalks.
Public Information's Coordinator for Twin, Joshua Palmer, said, "This year, we really expanded it quite a bit. What I mean by that is we're spreading a substantial amount of it on the roadways prior to storms, and that's why it takes on that pinstriping effect on the roadways."
The city is maintaining nearly 640 lane-miles of streets throughout Twin with only six snowplows. With such a limited number of plows, city officials have to prioritize specific areas of Twin. More residential streets will be subject to de-icing and salting but no plowing so that the plows can focus on areas where traffic is heaviest.
"We do have higher priority streets. So roadways that have more traffic congestion and that provide access to emergency vehicles. Those would be the arterials such as Blue Lakes Boulevard and Washington," said Palmer.
Residential streets will also not be plowed due to the increased chance of cars parked on those streets. Officials do not want to block any vehicles parked on the road if there is a major snowstorm. However, it is already discouraged to park on the street if a storm is expected.
Despite the city having a limited number of plows, the city says residents should not take it upon themselves to plow the streets. Mainly because city plows have a specific snow blade that allows for a smoother run on the city's streets, which other residents will most likely not have.
Palmer said, "We had individuals who were out trying to be helpful citizens and in the process damage their own equipment as well as some city streets. So, we ask them to leave that to our plows. We have the plows that are outfitted for our city streets."
While the city is taking precautions of its own, they encourage residents to do the same once a storm does hit, including driving slowly, providing space between cars, and not overtaking plows. It is also requested that those who shovel not to throw snow onto the streets.
If any resident observes dangerous road conditions during a storm, they should report to the non-emergency dispatch phone number, which is 208-735-4357.