The job of snow removal on Billings' residential streets has been assigned to the sun this week, after yet another winter storm dumped about 7 inches of fresh snow on the city last weekend.
While that's typically enough for Billings to activate CMG Construction's fleet of plows under its contract with the city, public works deputy director Vern Heisler said the forecast indicates that roads will quickly clear off on their own.
"Today is definitely showing us that the weather (forecast) was accurate in what was predicted, in terms of warmer temperatures and sunshine," Heisler said Monday afternoon, as the temperature hovered in the mid 30s under a clear, sunny sky. "Plowing at this point wouldn't do a lot of good. It would just move the slush around."
This season has been the first in which the city has set aside money for snow removal on residential streets. Previously, it plowed only the major thoroughfares and arterial streets.
Billings’ record to-date snowfall once again activated residential snowplowing Thursday morning, and the growing tab to pay private operators …
Dexter Jensen has an idea to help replenish the city’s residential snowplowing coffers — five and 10 dollars at a time.
Billings City Council had set aside $420,000 for plowing ahead of what is already a historically snowy winter. That fund has by now been completely depleted, Heisler said, and any additional plowing on residential streets would require the council to vote to allocate more money for the effort.
The city's official snowfall total for the storm that hit last weekend was 6.9 inches, according to data from the National Weather Service's weather station at the Billings Logan International Airport.
Including a smattering of snow that fell shortly after midnight Monday, that pushes the grand total for this snow season to 83.8 inches, already making this Billings' fifth-snowiest winter on record.