Emergency Snow Route Regulations

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Posted at 10:10 AM, Mar 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-04 12:10:14-05

HELENA — Snow is a common occurrence during winter months.

City streets and roadways are the responsibility of the Transportation Systems Department to clear.

We spoke with the City of Helena’s Department Director, David Knoepke, about different regulations around city streets.

“We plow whenever we have to,” said Knoepke.

Emergency Snow Routes are designated by the city, and don’t include streets that are the responsibility of other agencies, like the Montana Department of Transportation.

East-West Streets:

· Broadway - Park Ave to Colonial Drive

· Helena Ave – Last Chance to Railroad Ave

· 6th Ave - Park Ave to Lamborn St

· 11th Ave - Park Ave to Montana Ave

North-South Streets:

· Benton Ave - Custer Ave to Neill Ave

· California - 11th Ave to Winne St

· Colonial – Fee St to Broadway

· Hannaford St – Prospect Ave to 11th Ave

· Henderson St – Custer to LeGrande

· Park Ave - Neill Ave to Cruse

· Rodney - Helena Ave to Broadway

These routes are most needed so that emergency services have clear paths to get to residents if help is needed.

When two or more inches of snowfall is forecasted, all vehicles must be removed from emergency snow routes or risk being towed.

“These emergency snow routes are wider than our normal streets, so as we plow there’s a lot of snow being moved over to the edge of the roadway. If there are parked cars then we can’t get it over to the curb. That snow berm ends up coming out into the travel lanes,“ Knoepke said.

If you are towed, the city provides aninteractive towing map to help, find your vehicle.

After the street has been fully plowed residents are welcome to come back and park on those routes.

If snowfall is constant, it’s recommended you stay off these routes until it stops and the street can be fully plowed.

“Where we get a couple of inches now and then a few hours we have a couple more inches and we’re coming back. That’s where we run into a lot of our problems,” said Knoepke.

Other streets are classified as priority one, two, or three or local streets and are cleared in that order.

There are no regulations on those types of streets.

When removing snow from personal driveways or sidewalks it is best, if you can, to put it on the downstream side.

“Because if you pile it on the upstream side and the plow, come through then that snow, if it’s out far enough, may get put back into that spot you just shoveled,” Knoepke said.

You cantrack city snowplow and sanders in real time on the city’s website.