Town clarifies snow emergency policies


Courtesy of Town of Pine Bluffs

The illustration above shows the current snow removal plan within Pine Bluffs. The town urges residents to take precautionary steps before a snow storm to aid public works in expediting snow removal, such as parking cars off town streets.

"Early Wednesday morning I woke up to see a dark street – we were all without power as winter storm Selene blew through the area freezing everything in its path – including the power lines. I was frustrated at the thought of no power until I looked out my window and shivered as I watched our Public Works team work on the power lines from more than 25 feet in the air, harnessed to a bucket, in winds gusting at 50 mph and my frustrations of being without power melted away..." Quote from a resident.

During a winter storm event, our main objective is to keep all major utilities and main town streets passable within reason. With a staff of four, the entire Public Works Department prioritizes all calls for service; those that are considered an emergency are responded to first.

Selene started as a rain event that quickly froze and turned to sleet then snow, accompanied by high winds resulting in blizzard conditions that paralyzed the entire Front Range.

The wind and heavy wet snow, which is typical for a spring storm, weighed down power lines causing them to slap against one another causing many power outages throughout our community starting in the early morning hours on March 23rd.

Our team of four worked tirelessly starting before 5:00 a.m. to restore power. How did they accomplish that task? Repairing power lines in that situation required our workers to be lifted in a bucket to within a few feet of the power lines, and in the wind they managed to pull and replace fuses and transformers that blew throughout the community. How many? A total of 38 fuses and two transformers were replaced, costing the town several thousand dollars in repair costs.

Another member of the team worked to keep main roads passable. Snow blowing at gusts of more than 50 mph made it unsafe for travelers, leading state officials to close major interstates – I25 was closed from Fort Collins CO to Northern Wyoming and Interstate 80 was closed across the entire state of Wyoming into Nebraska. With that stated, it is obvious that folks were encouraged to stay off all roads. Snow removal during such an event is somewhat limited for safety reasons, and the need to restore power far outweighed the need to keep roads open. In the event of a medical emergency, our Public Works Department works very closely with our Fire and EMT volunteers and would ensure a path is cleared in front of all emergency vehicles.

On November 16, 2015 a draft Snow Removal Plan was presented at a Town Council Meeting for initial review. After revisions the Plan was adopted by the Governing Body on January 4, 2016 and will be reviewed each year for effectiveness and continuity. The map that accompanies the plan and illustrates areas within the Town footprint as Priority 1, Priority 2, or Priority 3 to ensure that the most critical paths are cleared first. The Plan also states that "During a major snow event when travel is not recommended, only emergency vehicle access roads and the sidewalks to occupied businesses shall be cleared..."

The Plan and map are available on the Town's website at or by request at the Town Hall.

The Town normally fields two snow plow trucks, a front end loader, and a skid steer, all operated by our Public Works employees. With over 47 miles of roads, several parking lots, and a few miles of sidewalks, it takes the team several hours to remove even a small amount of snow. Residents are always encouraged to park their vehicles off the streets whenever possible during a snow event to facilitate the snow removal process especially on narrow roads. This not only makes it possible for the team to be more thorough, but cuts down on time and ultimately cost. Considering the State of Wyoming is facing potential budget reductions for the upcoming fiscal years, we all need to work together to get the most benefit from each and every dollar.

We would also like to take this time to remind everyone that Town ordinance requires property owners and/or occupants to remove snow, ice, or slush from sidewalks within 24 hours following a snow fall so let's keep our walkways safe for pedestrians!

Finally, to sum up the events of last week, it is unfortunate that the severity of winter storm Selene reduced the availability of Public Works resources for snow removal due to the significant need for electric services throughout the town. We applaud our team and want to say thank you for their persistence and endurance as they made sure all families had power (and heat) to ride out the storm in their cozy homes. As always we will strive to improve procedures and welcome suggestions from the community.

Town of Pine Bluffs

Snow and Ice Removal Plan

As of November 2015

The following policies and procedures will ensure that snow and ice is removed from roadways, sidewalks and parking lots in a prioritized, efficient, and timely manner. These policies shall be in effect annually between October 1 and April 30. Snow plowing and roadway treatments will be performed any time the accumulation reaches two (2) or more inches, or the roadways become iced due to freezing with response times in accordance with the priorities. Sidewalks will be cleared when snow reaches a depth of 1". These standards will be consistently applied with the intention that snow will be cleared sufficiently to present safe conditions for the day's activities on any day that the Town is open.

Holidays and evenings/weekends may present opportunities to relax these standards. During those times, the Public Works Director will coordinate efforts as needed to maintain safe passage throughout the Town. The Public Works Director shall determine, based on the above standards, when snow and ice should be removed on weekday evenings/nights (4 p.m.-6 a.m.), weekends and holidays. The Public Works Director will also determine the appropriate equipment, working hours and personnel to be utilized for snow and ice removal.

The Town of Pine Bluffs Snow Removal Routing Map will be used to implement the snow removal process. Plowing operations will continue until all snow has been sufficiently removed.

Some roadways will require that snow be pushed to the curb or center aisle of the road. All school zones and business locations will be clear of snow at the curb as well as in the center of the roadway to allow for safe parking and passage.

Snow Removal Priorities

Snow removal equipment will be routed according to the following priorities. These priorities are to be reviewed and updated by the Public Works Supervisor annually and presented to the Governing Body for review, approval, and inclusion as the Snow Removal Routing Plan. Copies of the updated document will be forwarded to the Mayor and Town Council and all Department Heads before October 1st.

Priority 1:

Bare pavement streets that carry most of the traffic including:

Emergency Vehicle access and


The area designated as Cemetery Hill on Beach Street and the East 10th Street hill

Primary routes for businesses within the Town limits to include:

Main Street

Elm Street

Maple Street

Beech Street

8th Street

2nd Street from Beech Street to Lincoln Highway

3rd Street from Beech Street to Lincoln Highway

4th Street from Beech Street to Market Street

North Main Street

Sidewalks to include:

Main Street from 2nd Street to 4th Street [both sides] including entrances to:

Pine Bluffs Day Care Center

Pine Bluffs Town Hall

Commerce Building

Physical Therapy Office

2nd Street from Market Street to Elm Street including entrances to:

Points West Community Bank

Farmers State Bank

Laramie County Library

Pine Bluffs Police Department

3rd Street from Market Street to Maple Street

4th Street from Market Street to Maple Street including entry to the Post Office

Senior Center walkways

Community Center main entrance and entries to the Fitness Center

Community Center parking lot – row along the building only as Priority 1

Priority 2:

Streets that enable most residents to be within one block of a well plowed street as well as:

Senior Center Parking Lot

Community Center Parking lot

Back entry and rear parking lot to the Fitness Center

All side entrances to the Community Center

Rear entry to

Commerce Building

Chiropractic Building

All Side Streets that were not listed as Priority 1

RV Park

Business Park

Churches and Places of Worship

Churches and Places of Worship may be considered Priority 1 during Sundays and specific holidays when services are held

Continuous or back-to-back snowfalls may require restarting Priority 1 routes list even if the other areas have not been completed.

During a major snow event when travel is not recommended, only emergency vehicle access roads and the sidewalks to occupied businesses shall be cleared along with access to homes on the Cemetery Hill portion of Beech Street and East 10th Street.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019