(For Towns that Contract for Services)
WHEREAS, the Town Board of Bay Lake Township is the road authority and provides maintenance for approximately 33 miles of road in the Town;
WHEREAS, the Board, as the road authority, provides for snow and ice control on the town roads it has designated to receive winter maintenance;
WHEREAS, the Board secures its snow and ice control services through contract with an independent contractor (“Contractor”);
WHEREAS, the Board determines it is in the best interest of the Town to develop a policy to set out how snow and ice control activities will be conducted on town roads considering the Town’s limited resources;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Board hereby adopts the following as the snow and ice control policy for the Town;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that any Contractor performing snow or ice control services for the Town shall follow this policy.
In developing this policy for how to best undertake snow and ice control activities in the Town, the Board has had to balance a number of factors including, but not limited to, the following: public safety; the amount of funds available for these activities; the wish to maintain an efficient transportation system; enable the delivery of emergency services; avoid damage to Town property and personal property; and the cost effective allocation of resources. A further explanation of some of these policy considerations follows:
The funds the Town has available for snow and ice control are derived from two sources. The first is the town road and bridge tax levy that is set by the town electors at the annual town meeting held in March. The second source of funds comes from the gas tax imposed and collected by the state, a small portion of which is distributed to towns to help maintain their roads. The Board has no direct control over either source of funding. A proposed levy is submitted to the town electors at the annual town meeting, but the actual amount of the Town’s road & bridge levy is determined solely by a vote of the electors.
Because the Town obtains snow and ice control services through a non- exclusive contract, it does not have direct control over the availability of personnel, equipment, or the timing of the service delivery. The Town indicates through this policy and the service contract the work to be performed and the performance expectations, but the contractor must remain free to exercise initiative, judgment, and discretion in how best to perform or provide the services.
Snow and ice control operations will be conducted only when weather conditions do not endanger the safety of operators or pose an unreasonably risk of damaging equipment. Once initiated, operations will be suspended if conditions deteriorate to the point that operations become unsafe for operators because of factors including, but not limited to, severe cold, significant winds, limited visibility, accumulation of ice, or rapid accumulation of snow. Operations will also be delayed or suspended if existing or anticipated conditions indicate the operations will not be effective.
Unless closed because of a snow emergency, the following town roads or portions of town roads are
normally snowplowed by the Town:
See Exhibit A Attached
The amount and nature of the uses to which the Town’s roads are put can vary significantly by location and season. While some town roads are needed throughout the year to access to homes, businesses, or as primary transportation routes, other roads are only needed for limited purposes such as for [hunting, farming, or as convenient short cuts between major roads] and only during the summer months. The
Board determines that attempting to keep all roads open during the winter regardless of the need or use would unreasonably dilute the funds available for winter maintenance and lower the level of
maintenance that could be achieved on those roads that are relied upon year-round. In order to properly allocate the Town’s limited resources, the Board has determined to close certain roads during winter
months, and to reserve the right to close other roads as needed to respond to snow emergencies.
1. Minimum-Maintenance Roads that are not Snowplowed:
Towns are authorized by Minn. Stat. § 160.095 to designate roads that are used only occasionally or intermittently for passenger or commercial traffic as minimum-maintenance roads. Once a road is properly designated as a minimum-maintenance road and appropriate signs are posted, the town need only maintain the road at a level needed to accommodate the occasional or intermittent use. In this Town the Board has designated certain roads in the Town as minimum-maintenance roads. Some or all of the roads designated as minimummaintenance are used primarily as access to lands for farming, hunting, sight-seeing, or for other summer recreational purposes. Because the Board determines that these roads are not needed for vehicular traffic during the winter months, the following minimum-maintenance roads will not be snowplowed or otherwise maintained during winter months:
While these roads are not used for vehicular traffic during winter months, the Board does recognize that they are used for snowmobiling. The Board also recognizes that snowmobiling is an important recreational activity that plays an important part in the local economy. If the Board were to close and barricade these roads during the winter months, snowmobilers would be prohibited from using them
under Minn. Stat. § 160.27, subd. 5(14) which makes it a misdemeanor to drive through or around barricades. Furthermore, erecting barricades across roads used for snowmobile traffic creates a concern
for the safety of snowmobilers. To accommodate the use of these roads by snowmobilers, instead of closing and barricading the roads the Board will erect signs on or adjacent to the minimum-maintenance
signs indicating that they do not receive any winter maintenance. [Note: This portion of the policy should only be used if absolutely needed. It is always better to close a road and be free from liability if the road is not needed.]
2. Town Roads Closed in Snow Emergencies: In snow emergencies the Board will close and barricade roads at it deems necessary to respond to the emergency. The Board will determine when to reopen each road that was closed based on need and condition of the road as well as on the availability of funds, personnel and equipment.
If emergency services agencies request snow removal to assist response to an emergency situation, reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate the request.
The following criteria shall be considered when determining when to begin snow and ice control
Snow and ice control operations are expensive and involve the use of limited resources. Consequently, operations will normally not begin until the snow has stopped falling or until at least three inches of snow has accumulated.
As stated in the policy considerations above, snow and ice control operations will be delayed or suspended if the safety of operators is at risk, conditions pose an unreasonable risk of damaging equipment, or if operations will not be effective because of existing or anticipated conditions.
Snow will be plowed in a manner as to minimize traffic obstructions. Snow will normally be plowed from the center of the road first. Then snow will be pushed from left to right until at least the main traveled portion of the road has been cleared. On narrow roads, snow may be plowed from one side to the other. Snow will normally be discharged to the sides of the road unless it is determined that the snow should be hauled to another location for storage. Because of limited resources and restrictions on the use of salt, blacktopped roads will not usually be cleared down to bare blacktop.
In the event of equipment failure, extreme snowfall, or other unanticipated events including the availability or need to rest snowplow crews, deviation from these standards may be appropriate.
Snow will be plowed as close as practicable to mailboxes located in the road right-of-way. It shall be the responsibility of property owners to clear snow from around their mailboxes to enable mail delivery.
Snowplowing unavoidably results in snow being deposited on driveways and approaches. Because the Town does not have the resources available to it to clear the ends of driveways and approaches, it is the
responsibility of land owners to remove snow from their driveways and approaches.
The Town must consider the cost, environmental impact, public safety, and availability of staff and equipment when deciding if, when, and to what extent to apply sand and salt. Furthermore, the state legislature has imposed the following limitations on the use of salt by road authorities:
“In order to:
reduce the driving hazards resulting from chemicals on windshields;
road authorities, including road authorities of cities, responsible for the maintenance of highways or
streets during periods when snow and ice are prevalent, shall utilize such salt or other chemicals only at
such places as upon hills, at intersections, or upon high speed or arterial roadways where vehicle traction
is particularly critical, and only if, in the opinion of the road authorities, removal of snow and ice or
reduction of hazardous conditions by blading, plowing, sanding, including chemicals needed for free
flow of sand, or natural elements cannot be accomplished within a reasonable time.” Minn. Stat. §
To the extent sand and salt is applied, priority will be given to the following areas in the order listed:
The Town will not provide for the snowplowing or sanding of private property except when requested to do so by law enforcement to provide access for emergency vehicles responding to an emergency. If
private property is used with permission of the owner to turn around equipment or to store snow, the Town may snowplow the private property as needed to accommodate the Town’s use of the land.
It is unlawful for anyone to deposit any snow or ice in a public road right-of-way or to otherwise
obstruct a public road. Minn. Stat. §§ 160.27, subd. 5(a)(1); 169.42, subd. 1. Depositing snow or ice in a
road also increases snowplowing costs, creates a potential public safety hazard, and could damage
Public road rights-of-way are used for a variety of purposes that are outside of the direct control of the Town. Because snow and ice control operations are performed by independent contractors, the Town shall not be responsible for damages caused by the contractor to mailboxes, lawn sprinklers, utility structures, sod, landscaping materials, vegetation, or other personal or real property. Complaints regarding damage to property must be made to the contractor.
It is the responsibility of owners to keep the road rights-of-way clear of vehicles, trailers, trash cans, and other items of personal property in order to facilitate the proper snow and ice control operations. If an
owner fails to keep the road clear of personal property, the owner becomes responsible for promptly clearing the snow left in the right-of-way around the item. If the Board determines personal property left
in the road right-of-way posses an unreasonable risk to public safety, or significantly interferes with snowplowing operations, it will have the item removed from the right-of-way at the owner’s expense.
While reasonable efforts will be made to avoid damaging private property, snow and ice control operations may result in damage to the property of others. Where private property damage does occur, it is the policy of the Town to handle damages in the following manner.
Complaints and requests for further services regarding snow and ice control or damage will be taken during normal working hours and handled in accordance with Town procedures. Complaints and requests for further services should be directed to the Board. If the contractor is aware of complaints or requests for additional services, it shall forward such complaints or requests to the Board for consideration.
XIII. REVIEW OF POLICY
The Board will periodically review this policy, taking into consideration any changing conditions in the Town’s circumstances, any complaints or comments received, and the experienced learned from undertaking snow and ice control procedures.
Adopted this ___________ day of ________________, 20___.
BY THE TOWN BOARD
Town Board Chair
Lake Access Roads Policy Open Item