Tonight's 'Ask Evan' question comes from Henry D. Henry asks, "Why don't we use snow fences anymore to cut down on snow drifting?"
Years ago, we used to see snow fences along sections of open land in rural areas. They are designed to block the snow from drifting back onto plowed roadways. Over the years most of them have disappeared and are no longer installed.
On non-state roads the decision to use or not use snow fencing lies in the hands of county or local municipalities. Most of those simply don't have the manpower or money to install and remove snow fencing each year.
As far as PennDOT is concerned, it too basically became a very labor intensive operation that was not cost-effective. Snow fences have to be installed in the fall-- then taken down in the spring and hauled away to allow farmers to get back to their fields.
There was also an issue of a setback requirement which requires quite a bit of cooperation of the landowners to install it. Essentially a 4-foot snow fence would require approximately a 140-foot setback from the road -- which is in most cases well outside of PennDOT's right-of-way.
PennDOT says in some cases officials have been able to get some farmers to leave up a few rows of corn to help prevent drifting, but again they are dependent on the cooperation of the landowner. In the end, PennDOT decided there just wasn`t enough snow and drifting to justify the time and expense of snow fences.
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