Installing snow chains in the lane of traffic is not only dangerous, it could also result in the driver receiving a ticket. (Contributed photo)
Driving too fast for road conditions is never a good practice. (Contributed photo)
CHP to crackdown on motorists illegally parked in snow
By DOUGLAS W MOTLEY
Sheriff’s deputies will be joining forces with the California Highway Patrol in enforcing wintertime driving laws, in particular those related to vehicles illegally parked or blocking snow-covered roadways and parking in front of driveways.
CHP’s Arrowhead Area Public Affairs Officer Ubaldo Gonzalez told The Alpine Mountaineer on Wednesday, Dec. 21 that the two law enforcement agencies would be cracking down on motorists who impede the flow of traffic and emergency vehicles by parking in the snow-covered traffic lanes of local roads and highways during snowstorms to engage in snow play or to install chains.
“When we encounter such an incident, or someone reports it to us, we will send an officer to the scene. They will first give the offender an opportunity to move their vehicle and, if they don’t, issue a parking ticket. If someone is blocking a driveway on private property or blocking a snowplow by parking on the street blocking a snowplow route, their vehicle will be towed,” Gonzalez said.
According to the San Bernardino County Transportation Department, maintenance staffs prepare for snow removal by obtaining special training, checking equipment, performing dry runs on established snowplow routes and updating the listing of private individuals and or companies with heavy equipment, such as Crestline’s Mick Hill Enterprises, that can be contracted, should they be needed to assist with snow removal.
In a normal winter season, the county plows over 820 lane miles. As the elevation of the snowfall decreases, the number of lane miles significantly increases. Such was the case in December 2008, when the county plowed roughly 2,000 lane miles. The county also coordinates with local Special Districts, which plows 200 lane miles, and with Caltrans, which plows 240 lane miles.
Crews begin plowing the roads when there is two inches or more snow on the primary roads, such as Lake Gregory Drive and Green Valley Lake Road. Those are followed by secondary roads, which connect the local roads to the primary roads. Lastly the local roads are plowed.
This is done in this order to maximize access for emergency vehicles. If there are vehicles parked in the road right-of-way blocking the snowplow routes, those operators have to wait until the vehicles are removed, thus delaying snow removal operations.
County crews are not authorized to move the vehicles and, therefore, must contact the California Highway Patrol to have them removed. From the moment the vehicle is “tagged” to the actual removal may take up to four to six hours per vehicle. During heavy snowfalls, towing may not always be possible.
In case of an emergency when a road is blocked, call 911, Caltrans or the sheriff’s department as they are equipped with special vehicles for traveling over snowy terrain in emergency situations. The Department of Public Works can provide assistance to emergency response agencies.