Town of Mammoth Lakes Concludes Extensive Snow Trucking Operations

With support from the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), on April 7, the Town concluded its extensive snow trucking operations to widen streets for emergency vehicles and to improve roadway access and visibility for residents.

By the end of the program, 44 dump trucks, 3 loaders and operators, along with logistical and public safety support from Sheriff Deputies from multiple counties and Officers from the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, hauled 5,700 truckloads of snow or 57,000 cubic yards (15,000 tons) to snow pits under contract or permit by the Town. Snow trucking expenses were paid for by the State under the declared local and county emergency declarations, however, the Town paid $375,000 in tip dump fees.

5,700 truckloads of snow equates to approximately 4,625,000 gallons of water or for our many swimmers, it represents filling the Whitmore Pool 33 times. This staggering amount of water will not impact our local storm drain system but will instead flow towards the Lost Lake Basin and Murphy Gulch. Lost Lake Basin feeds to an aquifer and Murphy Gulch has existing stormwater infrastructure, including two sediment basins, that are engineered for this volume of water.

The program was managed by the Town of Mammoth Lakes Public Works Engineering Department with support from CalOES and CAL FIRE personnel. Program goals included improving emergency medical service (EMS) access, creating safer vehicle travel routes, and opening more drainage infrastructure for the anticipated heavy spring runoff. Just days before the tragic Val D’Isere property explosion, this program widened both Forest Trail Road and Canyon Boulevard allowing access for emergency vehicles that ultimately led to the quick response of emergency personnel to save lives.

“Our Town road crew stepped up big time after a long winter of continuous shifts and got back in Town loaders and blowers to continue loading trucks as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. At the start of the program, we did some work to create more snow storage for future storms and create better line of sight at intersections, but our main focus was widening roads for public safety and emergency vehicle access,” commented Haislip Hayes, Public Works Director.

“I would like to acknowledge Shaun Troy, Riley Griesenbeck, and Colin Brownlee along with my entire team for their hard work coordinating these incredibly valuable state resources, their methodical planning and management of the expansive traffic control plan needed to ensure public safety,” Hayes stated.

In addition to widening streets, teams of loaders, dump trucks, and CAL FIRE inmate crews worked with the Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District to dig out more than 120 fire hydrants, cleared snow from critical facilities and shoveled several problematic easements. These crews also prepared a stockpile of approximately 7,500 sandbags ready for use by the community to address flooding issues that may occur as the snow melts.

Sandbags are available for collection between 8am-5pm from the Town Yard located at 299 Commerce Drive. 

There were many considerations in how the critical CalOES provided resources were strategically allocated throughout the community. The most important feedback came from the team that has been managing the public roads all winter, our road crew. We also considered the equipment available on any given day, traffic control resources, bus routes, potential trucking routes, fluctuating vehicle traffic, and the unique challenges that each road presented. The blower is one of our best tools for cutting back a large snowbank but requires sufficient room on the road to allow both a truck and blower-mounted loader to work together. This meant we often had to cut back banks with bucket-mounted loaders to create this space, which could be slow and tedious work. As we moved from arterials to smaller collector and residential streets, we also had to shuffle equipment to make room for loaders or trucks. We appreciate the flexibility of our operators, trucking teams, and the public as we worked to find feasible and acceptable solutions to meet the goals of the program and needs of the community.

The Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation (MMCF) is using funds donated from the Town of Mammoth Lakes and the Alterra Mountain Company Community Foundation to retain some of these trucking and loader resources for private snow removal among local businesses, housing complexes, and in conjunction with their roof shoveling program for residential homes. Local contractors are planning to continue private trucking operations through the month of April.

With Town-wide snow trucking operations complete and temperatures finally on the rise, the Town is now focused on mitigating the anticipated substantial spring runoff and working to repair our many potholes and damaged roadways.  At a special meeting on April 12, Town Council allocated $500,000 for an emergency street repair contract to address several sections of failed streets and sizeable potholes. The goal is to have this work done as soon as possible this spring.

For additional information about this program, visit the Town website or contact the Town of Mammoth Lakes Public Works Engineering Department at (760) 965-3650.

(From Town of Mammoth Lakes)

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