Truckee & North Lake Tahoe's Independent Newspaper | Tahoe News | Tahoe Music | Tahoe Events

Do You Have to Berm Me In?

Reads 3131 Comments 1 Printer-friendly versionprint Send by emailemail

Acronym Fun: A Reason to embrace the berms

B urly

E xtra

R ad

M uscle

S tructure

Send us yours!

This month, the Ink introduces a new platform for its readers to ask burning questions about how things work in the community, and then we track down the answers with the powers that be.

This month’s question: What is the possibility of Placer County and/or the Town of Truckee getting plows that have the extra blade so they don’t have to create a berm every time they go by our driveways? What would the cost be?

Town of Truckee

Last summer, Town staff revisited the use of plow gates to reduce driveway berms.

They contacted six agencies (Placer County; South Lake Tahoe; El Dorado County; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Moscow, Idaho; and Sioux Falls, S.D.;), who currently employ plow gates, and we received a negative recommendation from all these agencies for the following reasons:

Plow gates were said to:

• Become ineffective in snow depths greater than 4 to 6 inches

• Be less effective in heavy, wet snow — such as “Sierra cement”

• Increase plow time

• Increase driveway damage

• Increase maintenance cost and down time

• Not eliminate berms causing increased complaints due to unrealistic expectations

Cost estimates were:

• Purchase and installation: $250,000 to $300,000

• Annually: $300,000 to $350,000 (maintenance, training, repair, 30 percent increase in staff cost for increased plow time)

Due to cost, effectiveness under most of Truckee’s snow removal conditions, negative effect on service, and the fact that plow gates only reduce berms, not eliminate them, Town staff strongly recommended against the implementation of plow gates at this time. The Town of Truckee is committed to keeping abreast of any changes in plow technology and will re-evaluate as new plowing options come available.

~ Thom Ravey, street manager

Placer County

The county has one of the largest snow removal operations in the state, and in big storms, we use every resource at our disposal around the clock to keep the roads clear. Minimizing snow berms is something we always try to do, but even with snow berm gates, as they’re called, we can’t always avoid them.

We do, in fact, have snow berm gates on eight of our 10 motor graders, installed about a dozen years ago at a cost of about $6,000 a piece ($48,000 total). The gates are most effective when there is less than 6 inches of snow on the ground. As snow depth increases, their effectiveness diminishes and the gates do not work. We make the rounds as quickly as we can to help limit snow building up, but as a rule of thumb, even in the best conditions, the gates will reduce the height of a driveway berm by about one-half. The challenge has a lot to do with the amount of snow we get. Sioux Falls, S.D., for instance, uses them too, but gets on average 43 inches of snow a year — which we often see in the Sierra over the course of a single large storm.

~ Chris Gray-Garcia, deputy director of Communications and Public Affairs

By creating and using an account on Moonshine Ink, you are agreeing to our user terms and submissions policy. Read the complete terms and policy.

Reader comments so far...

Mouse | Truckee
OK, Folks..Let's stop the whining and get out and dig. I am more concerned about the snowplow burying Fire Hydrants than my driveway. A NEXEL sent out with the blessing from the Fire Dept. ask us to dig out the hydrants. Be glad to do it if we could find it. I think this IS serious. How can we resolve this? The snow plow came by as my family member was digging out the hydrant. A stare down resulted in the hydrant NOT being buried. So... it is possible. Let us cooperate here. A berm is an inconvenience...sigh.. but a buried hydrant can be catastrophic!

Don't Miss the Next Edition

Edition First-Round Deadline Drop-Dead Deadline
Aug. 9 to Sept. 12 July 20 July 27
Sept. 13 to Oct. 10 Aug. 17 Aug. 31

About News

Moonshine Ink brings you Tahoe news straight from the source. Our team of hardworking journalists uncovers North Tahoe and Truckee news stories with in-depth reporting and our authentic “for the community, by the community” spirit.

In our News section you’ll find the facts on everything from politics to the environment to local business. We’re your Tahoe newspaper, delivering stories you can trust.

Subscribe to the feed

Latest Tweets @moonshineink

  • Repainting this summer? Here a few tips to help you care for the paint. #homecare #tahoeliving #spaceitup… 3 weeks 3 days ago
  • OPINION: “I joined this lawsuit because Truckee deserves a second chance to have this discussion openly...” ~ lifel… 3 weeks 4 days ago
  • For many local business owners, it’s all about that personal connection that is unique to a mom-and-pop shop. That’… 3 weeks 5 days ago

Look for the latest Moonshine Ink issue on newsstands now.

Look for the latest issue in newsstands now.

Or subscribe and enjoy it hot off the press in your mailbox.

July 12, 2018