HELENA – Helena city commissioners are moving forward with changes to emergency snow removal routes.
At their meeting Monday night, commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance reducing the emergency snow routes from over 50 miles to just over 10 miles.
City officials said while less streets will be plowed, this will help plow operators clear routes more quickly. They say non-emergency routes will still be plowed as part of the priority plowing plan, but the major routes will have first priority during heavy snow.
The new routes include:
- Broadway – Park Avenue to Colonial Drive
- Helena Avenue – Last Chance Gulch to Railroad Avenue
- 6th Avenue – Park Avenue to Lamborn Street
- 11th Avenue – Park Avenue to Montana Avenue
- Benton Avenue – Custer Avenue to Neill Avenue
- California – 11th Avenue to Winne Street
- Colonial – Fee Street to Broadway
- Hannaford Street – Prospect Avenue to 11th Avenue
- Park Avenue – Neill Avenue to Cruse
- Rodney – Helena Avenue to Broadway.
The ordinance also addresses vehicles parked on city streets, which have posed an issue for plow operators in the past.
The revised ordinance will allow workers to tow vehicles parked in the public right-of-way during specific times and dates.
When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts two or more inches of snow will accumulate, Helena drivers will not be able to park on designated emergency snow removal routes between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
On Benton Avenue between West Lyndale Avenue and Bishop Carroll Drive and East Broadway between North California Street and Saddle Drive, people will be able to park between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but will have to move between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
If people do not move their vehicles, the city will be able to have them towed and stored at the registered owner’s expense.
However, city officials say they will initially tow cars around the corner during the first snow.
The ordinance also addressed trailers, recreational vehicles, boats or stored items. The changes mean people will not be able to park them on the public right-of-way between November 1st and April 15th.
The commission has planned a public awareness plan to educate people about the changes.