Weather Wise: Helena’s new snow emergency routes

Posted at 9:48 AM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 11:48:26-05

HELENA- Winter weather is right around the corner and this year Helena has new emergency snow routes.

Emergency snow routes are the priority streets plowed in an area. They are generally in a gridded pattern to allow police and fire vehicles to get within a few blocks of any home, but also so the public only has to travel a few blocks to get to a plowed main street.

The city of Helena has just made changes to its routes.

“This will keep the roads open. There will be more room. They will be safer. It will make parking better after a snowfall event, ” says Public Works Director Randall Camp

Persistent snow and cold during the 2017-2018 winter, along with some rain, created tough conditions for plow crews and drivers.

“The plan that we came up with will reduce the number of roads from 50 to 10 miles,” says Camp, “something we can manage more. And still get penetration in the residential areas without having to continually backtrack to the emergency snow routes.”

This new design will keep emergency snow routes cleaner but does not mean areas will be ignored. This design also needs the help of those living along snow routes. Fliers have been distributed around the city asking people to not park on the emergency snow routes between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. when 2″ of snow is forecast.

Vehicles left on the street make it more difficult to clear and may be subject to being towed.

“No, we don’t want to tow. Towing is a major challenge, we don’t want to tow,” says Camp.