By Zendelle Bouchard
At the City Council’s meeting on Nov. 21, 2023, Department of Public Works Director Matt Hill gave a presentation on snow removal and winter operations, to help the Council and the public better understand what to expect before, during and after storms.
Although each storm is different, the DPW has pre-approved road treatment and plowing routes with set priorities for arterial and collector roads, the hospital, schools and public safety facilities. The snow plowing routes may be viewed on the Sanford GIS at https://next.axisgis.com/SanfordME/. (There’s also a link on the home page of the City’s website at sanfordmaine.org.)
To find the routes on GIS, click on the Layers tab on the left side of the screen, and select Public Works. Click or tap on the words “Public Works” to get the drop-down menu, then select Snow Plow Routes. The default setting has all the routes selected, but unless you have a high-powered computer with a world-class internet connection, nothing will appear. You may have to deselect most of the routes and view them a few at a time. The site works very slowly and it may take a minute or two for them to appear.
Parking bans for snow removal or sanding/salting are declared by DPW and enforced by the Sanford Police Department. Plow drivers are on a tight schedule, and do not have time to stop and knock on doors to get people to move vehicles. They will notify the SPD, and officers may respond and ticket vehicles or have them towed. If your street has not been plowed, it may be because there were vehicles in the way, making plowing difficult.
The DPW does not clear all the sidewalks in Sanford and Springvale. The Sanford GIS also has a map showing which sidewalks are maintained by the City. Sidewalks are typically done after all road clearing is completed, due to staffing limitations.
Hill said residents should be aware that it is against the law to place snow in the right-of-way, but determining where the right-of-way is can be tricky. It’s not as simple as a set number of feet from the center line of the roadway. He said the GIS gives an approximate idea of the boundaries of the right-of-way that residents can use as a guide. The City is not responsible for plow damage to vehicles, mailboxes or other items left in the right-of-way.
To prevent show from being pushed back into your driveway, place show outside the right-of-way and “upstream” – that is, on the side of the driveway opposite to the direction the plow is coming. See the illustration below.
The School Street parking lot is no longer available for use during winter parking bans, but the City has set aside the Benton Playground lot on Roberts Street, and the Heritage Drive parking lot just off High Street for residents who lack sufficient off-street parking at their homes. All vehicles should be removed from these lots within eight hours after the storm ends so the lots can also be plowed.
Regardless of whether there is a parking ban announced, there is a list of streets in Sanford where parking is prohibited from 2 am to 5 am Dec. 1 to April 1. You can find the list on the bottom of this page.
Winter sand/salt mix is available to Sanford/Springvale residents only at the DPW yard at 156 School St. Residents may take up to two five-gallon buckers per storm. Please bring your own shovel. Pickup hours are Monday through Thursday, from 8 am to 3 pm.
The Department continues to be short-staffed. Hill asked that residents please allow plow drivers enough room, as well as patience and courtesy, to do their jobs.