This week's 'Ask Evan' question comes from Joce S. Joce asks, "Why aren't snow fences used anymore to cut down on snow drifting across roadways?"
There was a time when snow fences were in wide use around the region-- particularly 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 of local municipalities-- and most of those don't have the manpower or money to install and remove snow fencing each year. As far as PennDOT is concerned it too became a very labor intensive operation that was not cost-effective. They have to be installed in the fall and 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 high 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 that is based on the cooperation of the landowner. In the end, PenndDOT decided there just wasn`t enough snow and drifting to justify the time and expense of snow fences.
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