Mountain Times: Close vote … where’s my snow plow? |

Mountain Times: Close vote … where’s my snow plow?

Norm and Alan Nicholls
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE – At this writing, the final few votes have not yet been counted for Measure A. Whether or not Measure A indeed passes, the efforts of both the proponents and the commitment of the opposing voters to get out and vote should be commended. The democratic process is alive in our communities, and we should all be proud of that.

If the measure does officially pass, it is time for both proponents and opponents to be involved in the oversight of these dollars. Although the Measure A dollars are a part (an integral part) of the school district budget, they have been earmarked by the rules of Measure A, as enhancements to the basic education of our students and are not intended to just be thrown in the pot to be used for other expenses.

Back to the berms: In response to our remarks in our last column about snow berms, Ed Miller was kind enough to call me from the West Shore and explained that El Dorado County and Placer County both use “side gates” on their graders and apparently South Lake Tahoe still does. It also sounds that the west lake portions of El Dorado County actually passed an assessment a few years ago to enhance the berm-removal process.

He explained that the side gates work great in some storms, not as good during deep snow falls, and during some wet snow conditions. But, the technology is still out there and being used with some success.

Last Friday, Dan Wilkins, director of public works for the town of Truckee, was kind enough to call me. We spent about 40 minutes talking about berms, and overall snow removal methods and procedures. He was very helpful and was a wealth of information.

Dan explained that the town of Truckee has looked at this matter from time to time since incorporation in 1993. He explained that the fleet of town snow plows is made up mostly of front end loaders and trucks with plow blades and sanders, and only a few graders. This type of equipment is not conducive to side gate attachments. To change out the fleet would take years and many more dollars.

He explained that the idea of using small blowers (like the “Holder” tractors that driveway snow removal contractors use) to follow plows down the street for berm removal has been explored, but again it is a costly proposition.

As an intermediate measure, the town of Truckee has implemented an interactive website with GPS tracking of the snow removal equipment, to help keep both homeowners and the snow removal contractors aware of where the equipment is at any one time during snow storms. It is hoped that this technology will be used by the snow removal contractors to coordinate plowing of driveways after the plows go by, rather than before, “if” such timing is feasible. This could definitely lessen the problem.

To access this site, you can go through the town of Truckee website at, or go directly to the URL: to access the interactive map directly. I have marked this site on my “favorites” list of my Internet home page and am looking forward to using it in the future.

Dan did say that listening to the concerns of community members is a priority of town council and town staff. He urged that if berms are an issue to you, or if you have other questions or concerns regarding snow removal or road maintenance, that you can call the Town at 530-582-7707 or e-mail him directly at

Don’t forget: Rotary of Truckee Crab Feed this Saturday, 8 p.m. at the Truckee Community Center (530-582-7720) and mark your calendar for the Truckee Sunrise Rotary’s Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament on Saturday, April 16, at the Truckee Community Arts Center (old Rec center). Go to for info.

This just in from Maui: Norval Ayers, former Truckee resident, Sierra Sun reader and Question of the Week player sent me a couple of e-mails as to the effects of the tsunami on Maui. “We really dodged a bullet,” said Norval. “Because of advanced warnings, many boat owners took heed, and took their boats out to deep water and away from the docks and piers to ride out the tsunami.”

“There was some severe damage to docks and dock boxes as well as to boats that were left behind. However, the club (Lahaina Yacht Club of which Norval is a member) is fine as are all of the other business’s along Front St.”

Thanks Norv!

Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate Group are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Road in Truckee.

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