Thanks to an enhanced budget for the Public Works Street Department, the City of Missoula has made some additions to their snowplow plan that will hopefully provide better service over the winter.

Public Works Director for Streets Brian Hansel appeared on the KGVO Talk Back program on Friday to reveal some of the changes.

“Normally for  years on standby on weekends we had four operators ready to go,” began Hensel. “This year I bumped it up to six. I’m hoping that on weekends we can get some better service, with these two new employees it just makes it quicker to get these guys rolling.”

Hensel said there are major changes being implemented as his department prepares for the inevitable winter snow storms.

“Thanks to the city council and the mayor we have some additional funds to have more FTE’s and we also got some additional pickups plows,” he said. “What I’m planning on doing is we’re going to mobilize five plows working between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Their only function will be when we get two inches of snow those five operators will go out into their designated areas and all they will do is low volume residential neighborhood streets. Those streets don’t get plowed very often and people drive on those streets and create ruts that when a snowplow finally does get to the street  that can’t generate enough down pressure to remove that packed snow and ice. The key to that is to get in there before it sets up, so what I’m really excited about is that for the first time we can get those drivers out and get started on those residentials right away.”

Hensel said the smaller pickup truck plows have a much easier time negotiating the narrow residential streets and cul de sacs.

“These pickup plows have a much easier opportunity to go around parked vehicles, and maneuver around obstacles,” he said. “There are so many streets with narrow widths and sidewalks adjacent to curbs that our bigger plows struggle with that. There are often times with some streets they can’t even go into them when there are cars parked along the street.”

Hensel was sure to give credit to the city administration for helping to put the plan together to make the smaller pickup plows possible starting this winter.

Get details on the city’s new snow removal plans on their website, attached here.