The city stopped using Salt Lake County snow removal services this year and hired a private contractor. Residents and city leaders say that so far, that experiment has failed. So, on Thursday the city contracted with UDOT and Salt Lake County once again to help out when the snow starts to fall.
Residents are not happy with what they have seen from the private company hired to take care of the snow that falls on the streets of Cottonwood Heights.
"I am disgusted with the snow removal service. It's really, really bad." "The roads are just atrocious." "One side of the street was plowed, but the other side wasn't." When ABC 4 Utah spoke with residents they were more than ready to blast the current situation. Benjamin Carey says it's "definitely the worst I've seen it here in Cottonwood Heights after a storm since my time here."
For years Salt Lake County plows have covered Cottonwood Heights, Taylorsville, Holladay and other unincorporated areas. But Cottonwood Heights decided this year to turn to Terracare - a private company out of Colorado and California.
When the snow started falling on Tuesday - Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore Jr. says Terracare did not send out enough plows. "They only deployed half the snow plows at the beginning of the storm. They could only deal with the primary streets. By the time they got to residential streets the snow was packed and the plows were relatively ineffective."
That left residents with hot tempers and icy roads. Suzette Houghton and long time Cottonwood Heights Resident says just getting home from work was a "very, very bad" experience. And Benjamin Carey says it impacted his daughter getting home from school "because her ride did not want to go down the hill because it was dangerous."
Mayor Cullimore says the city researched Terracare and thought it was the right choice. "We were very shocked of the response in this first storm and concerned whether that is going to repeat."
Terracare is now trying to catch up with the ice and snow before the next storm rolls in. In the meantime, the city has contracted with Salt Lake County and UDOT to help get the streets cleared now and to be there if Terracare can't handle the snow in the future.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says they haven't worked out all the payment details, but he says Cottonwood Heights will pay for any services it needs. He adds the real priority is making sure businesses in the area can open and residents can drive safely. "We want to make sure people are safe and can go about their lives without any risk to their vehicles and themselves."