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Private Roads Won't See Snowplow in 2013-14 Season

Seeing a risk for liability, public works plow trucks won't be clearing snow on private roads, but will give residents a year's notice.

The city will suspend a practice that some estimate has been ongoing for the past 30 years by removing private roads from its plow routes.

Director of Public Works Dave Simpson told the Public Works Committee Monday night that he reviewed the routes with DPW superintendent Wayne Delikat, and felt that the city should discontinue the service, as it left it open to liability.

"These are private roads, and while some are in the public right of way, others are completely private, and I've looked back to see why we have been clearing them, but have not found a reason," he said. "It's possible that it was done for safety reasons, as some roads are basically driveways that have three homes along them, and we want to make sure they are accessible for firetrucks and the like."

However, he also said the city bears liability on those roads as they are considered private.

Alderman Rob Wolfe, who sits on the committee, agreed, saying, "I think we need to stick with the word 'private' when making the determination if we plow a road or not. So far, these folks have been benefiting, they've been lucky, but I'd agree, it should stop."

Wolfe felt the residents on the affected streets, including Bozhardt Lane off of Janesville, Mystic Drive beyond the cul de sac, and a final section of Priegel Drive, should be sent a letter giving them notice and making the change effective for this coming winter. However, other aldermen on the committee, Elaine Madden and Neil Borgman, said they felt the change was too abrupt.

"We have let them know this is the last year, as we've been doing it for 30 years or however long, you just can't tell them just before the winter sets in,"

Simpson said he would send out the letter to affected residents soon, and that he would also review the routes to see if other roads also fall into this category.

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