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County adds two snow gates to fleet; more possible if cost saving from mild winter continues

February 2, 2019

Spokane County residents will soon see fewer snow berms in their driveways with the addition of two snow gates to the county’s fleet of graders.

The two snow gates, which cost $25,000 each, were tested in six areas around north Spokane and Spokane Valley as part of a pilot program launched by the county this year. A snow gate is a large bladelike device that can be attached to the side of a grader. It is designed to temporarily interrupt the large volume of snow created in a grader’s path.

Spokane County Commissioner Josh Kerns said at a news conference Friday the county typically receives complaints in the winter from people whose roads haven’t been plowed at all or have been plowed with a berm in front of their driveway.

Although snowfall has been light this year, the county was able to gather decent data from the pilot program, he said.

“We’ve had a very positive response from folks in our community and I really want to say the concept for this really was consumer driven,” he said. “We received calls from folks that really were asking for these and this is just one of those things that shows Spokane County is one of those very efficient, very responsive county governments for the folks in our jurisdiction.”

The city of Spokane installed snow gates on seven pieces of equipment as part of its pilot program in 2017. As a result of the successful program, the city more than doubled its amount of snow gates to 16 last year to avoid placing snow across driveways and alleys.

Spokane County’s snow gates will be used primarily in urbanized or suburban areas.

The county plans to use money saved in plowing costs from this year’s mild winter to purchase four to six additional snow gates.

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