By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
A typical winter in Central Oregon often brings snow, and with it, snow berms.
Also known as inconvenient piles of the white stuff that can accumulate at the base of driveway.
“Berms are unfortunately is a product of snow plowing and we’ve got to put it somewhere and we understand that those berms can be challenging along driveways and sidewalks and things,” said David Abbas, City of Bend Streets and Operations director.
The city of Bend has heard residents’ concerns and are implementing a new pilot program this winter, using a new piece of equipment that will avoid creating those pesky berms.
“It’s an attachment that will go on one of our two existing motor graters. So the motor grater or just the plow, it’s pushing snow and it’s dumping out a berm as it goes,” Abbas said. “That snow gate will come down and it’s just pushing that snow across the intersection. It’s not removing the snow like hauling it off, all it’s doing is prohibiting that snow from coming off the snow blade there and coming across the driveway.”
While Streets and Operations believes the new equipment will be effective, there are concerns about how it could work in Bend’s urban area.
“Nationally there have been some good reviews on these things but more in a rural setting out in the county where maybe there’s a driveway every half mile,” Abbas said. “When you get into an urban setting like the one we have here in Bend, intersections every few hundred feet, driveways every 50 feet. That’s a lot of hydraulic motion to go on.”
For now they’ve only ordered one snow gate, which Abbas says is unlikely to cover the whole city.
Instead, they’ll focus its use on high priority areas such as main streets and arterials.
But if all goes well, they could add another
“If it’s successful we could try to budget for another one for our second grater,” Abbas said. “As we continue to urbanize every year the snow berms become more and more of a topic and we hear that and we want to try and make it better.”