Stick to the main drags today, GJ road crews advise drivers

Trying to get around Grand Junction today?

Might want to take the roads most traveled. According to the city’s snow-removal plan, plows first remove snow from the city’s most heavily used streets, such as Patterson Road, North Avenue, the Interstate 70 Business Loop and the Riverside Parkway.

If snowfall is heavy and major roads have been plowed, city workers may start on some residential roads. That initially would be limited to include steep hills that connect to subdivisions or other roads that connect subdivisions to major roads.

“We start to plow after we’ve gotten about 4 inches or if the weather drops below 20 degrees,” said Grand Junction spokeswoman Kristin Winn.

To keep roads from turning into sheets of ice, the city’s trucks dump magnesium chloride. That was a tricky call earlier this week as a snowstorm that was expected Wednesday didn’t starting dumping snow until Thursday afternoon.

“If we wait too long people say the city’s not doing anything. But if we put it down and it doesn’t snow, it’s wasted,” said Terry Franklin, deputy director of the city’s facilities, utilities and streets.

“We’re darned if we do and darned if we don’t.”

Plow workers were expected to work in shifts through the night Thursday as more snow was expected to blanket the Grand Valley overnight.

City workers launch into a storm plan if more than 6 inches of snow coats the valley floor. A regional plan was approved earlier this year after authorities found themselves overwhelmed with an especially big snowfall in early December 2009. In the event of more than 6 inches of snow, contractors may be called in to remove snow.

City workers and Mesa County workers met in the fall to discuss which streets each entity will plow as some areas overlap or streets are owned by both. Residents may see a doubling-up of plows on a road as plows attempt to access other areas of the Grand Valley.

Obviously clearing snow off roads is easiest for snow-plow drivers after hours and during the night. City plow operators are hoping to get major routes cleared for today’s festivities.

“Even though it’s a holiday, people except the streets to be done,” Franklin said.

For information on the city’s snow-removal plan and its major plow routes, go to http://www.gjcity.org and access the snow plan brochure on the Utility and Streets System page.



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