ASK YOUR GOVERNMENT: Why do city snowplows damage curbs?
Q. I've been struck by the amount of damage that snowplows do to curbs throughout the city, especially where driveways and curbs join together. This damage accumulates over time and, I assume, results in costly repairs. It seems that snowplows co...
Q. I've been struck by the amount of damage that snowplows do to curbs throughout the city, especially where driveways and curbs join together. This damage accumulates over time and, I assume, results in costly repairs. It seems that snowplows could be raised an inch or two when being driven over berms or curbs without diminishing the snow-clearing effectiveness. Can city snowplow operators make an effort to reduce curb damage?
A. It's a little more complicated than just raising the blade a couple of inches, according to Mark Aubol, city streets superintendent.
If a snowplow operator were to raise the blade, then more snow and ice would accumulate in the street gutters, Aubol said.
And if that were to happen, city workers would eventually have to go in and clear out the gutters, which could do "much more damage" than snowplow blades, he said.
"This is the very reason the city of Grand Forks does street maintenance on the streets," Aubol said.
"Regular maintenance saves the city money in the long run, as crews are able to catch problems before they become too large," he said.
Residents can find the city's street maintenance schedule in the 2015 city calendar or online at www.grandforksgov.com .
Q. Why does the city of Grand Forks need so many streetlights, especially in areas with few pedestrians? I'm noticing a lot of light pollution in town and I'm wondering if that could be curbed.
A. The city's placement of streetlights is mandated by federal guidelines, according to John Bernstrom, city spokesman.
The guidelines can be based on the width of the street the lights are on, the height of the pole the lights are on, the type of area and more.
According to the Federal Highway Administration Lighting Handbook, the guidelines for street lighting are for safety, to prevent car accidents.
Also, Bernstrom noted that the city puts in lights on streets, but lights in private parking lots are put in by those private businesses.