MISSOULA — There have been shifts in the priorities to plow more roads in Missoula following yearly complaints from residents to the City of Missoula's Street Maintenance Division.
While snow is not currently on the streets, the division has plans to expand their route to residential neighborhoods. Deputy Director Brian Hensel says the neighborhood streets are a point of contention, taking up 135 miles of Missoula.
“Due to a lack of resources in the past, the plows were usually unable to hit the neighborhoods,” said Hensel. “We’ve always had to wait until all our priorities are done then we move into residential.”
The road priorities are based on traffic volume, hill steepness, public transit routes, and proximity to schools and businesses.
The Missoula City Council approved extended resources for the Street Maintenance Division last year, allowing them to buy more plows, and hire more employees. Now, neighborhood streets aren’t last on the list because the division has five new pickups with snow plows and sanders -- specifically for residential areas.
“It’s going to be a huge learning experience for us. And we are welcome to accept input from the citizens from the council, administration,” Hensel said. “All we want to do is improve and give as high of a level of service as possible.”
The plows will be deployed from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on the same day as a snow event under the new plan. Hensel is asking asks residents to park their cars off the street where possible to allow better access for the plows.
There will be an updated map with the new routes posted on the city website. It should be noted that residents are still responsible for clearing sidewalks in front of their house.