The topic of snow gates dominated the Public Works meeting Monday night at City Hall. Watertown Street Superintendent Rob Beynon gave a presentation on Snow Gates and talked about both the benefits and pitfalls of using them.
A snow gate is a hydraulically powered “gate” that fits onto the end of plow blade and can rise or fall with the press of a button. The goal of the gates is to keep snow from spilling as it usually would onto the curb or driveway as the blade from the plow pushes mounds of snow along the street.
In his presentation, Beynon said the city has been using the snow gates since around January of 2015.
Beynon said that the snow gates work well in snow less than five inches; however with large amounts of snow like last winter, the snow, over time, gradually caused narrowing of the roadways. This ultimately caused the blockage of the storm drains and localize flooding as the snow began to melt.
Beynon said each snow gate costs about $8,000 and reduces the speed of plowing up to 2-3 miles per hour, which reduces the efficiency of his staff and slows down snow removal. Beynon said his department would be using the gates in the area from 21st Street West to 19th Street East and 14th Avenue North to Highway 212 this coming winter.
After Beynon’s remarks, Watertown Mayor Sarah Caron summarized Beynon’s presentation…
Councilman Glen Vilhauer said he isn’t sold on the snow gates and wants further discussion on the issue…..
Councilman Don Roby agreed…
The council agreed to put the issue on an upcoming agenda for further discussion.