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Greenwood: Clear a space for snowplows

Tom Greenwood

Talk about your love/hate relationships.

Snowplow operators are hard-working (largely under-appreciated) and unsung heroes who put up with bad weather, crazy drivers and 16-hour shifts on our behalf.

Everyone loves them when they clear the roads, but love turns to rage when they plow a Berlin Wall of snow across your driveway, the driveway you spent an hour cleaning.

Well, the County Road Association of Michigan is offering a solution to avoid the "second shovel" situation.

On its website, the association has posted an infographic showing that a little pre-planning can help keep your driveway clear.

"Shoveling snow once after a storm is a tiring process," association director Denise Donohue said. "Having to shovel a driveway a second time after the snowplow passes is just plain frustrating."

The group suggests clearing a 10-foot area to the right of your driveway (as you face your home or business) that is large enough for the snow flying off the snowplow blade to be deposited before it gets to your driveway.

"It's simple physics," Donohue said. "If homeowners don't make a place for the snow to go, the momentum of the passing plow is going to throw snow right back in the driveway.

"A little early planning on where to shovel, can save residents both time and frustration."

So, the snow is flung onto the cleared area and then leaves the driveway free because there's no snow to plow, right?

Enter Doubting Thomas with a couple of questions.

Unless the snow to the right of the driveway is already piled very high, can't the plow just fling the street snow on top of the stuff that's already there without having to clear a space?

And isn't clearing a space to the right of the driveway just another form of secondary shoveling which is what we're trying to avoid in the first place?

But even though I flunked physics in high school, I'm still going to give it a try. (Actually, I'm going to have the guy who clears my driveway give it a try, but it's more or less the same thing.)

(313) 222-2023


A brief update on major road projects around Metro Detroit. Go to to see the full list.

I-94: In Detroit, there will be a right lane closure EB and WB between Chene and Conner from 8 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Saturday for freeway lighting work.

I-96: In Milford, there will be intermittent closures EB and WB west of Milford Road from 6-10 a.m. Saturday for utility work.

I-96: In Webberville, there will be intermittent closures EB and WB at Old Plank Road from 6-10 a.m. Saturday for utility work.

M-5 (Grand River): In Detroit, two lanes EB will be closed at McNichols until 3 p.m. Tuesday for utility work.

M-8 (Davison Freeway): In Detroit, the WB ramp to Oakland Street and Woodward will have daily lane closures from 9 a.m. Friday until 3 p.m. Saturday for repairs.

M-10 (Lodge Freeway service drive): In Detroit, two SB lanes will be closed from McNichols to Meyers from 4 p.m. Saturday through April for repairs.

M-29: In St. Clair, NB and SB will be closed between Clinton and Brown from 5-8 p.m. Friday for a parade.

14 Mile: On the Farmington Hills/West Bloomfield Township border, one lane of the road is open in each direction on the east side of the intersection with Northwestern while the road is being realigned.

Tienken: In Rochester Hills, closed between Livernois and Paint Creek Trail for reconstruction and widening. This project is slated to end for the winter Wednesday.

Munger Road: In Rose Township, closed between Milford and Buckhorn Lake roads for repairs to a railroad crossing. This project ends Tuesday.