Washington Township, Erie County, Pensylvania

  Streets and Roads Information    

Mailboxes vs. Plows

The unpopular subject of mailbox damage during the winter plowing season is one that continues to haunt the Township. Washington Township Council has taken a very firm position on this ongoing situation. During particularly hard winters like those that we experienced in 2013/14 the problem escalates due to the deepening snow.

Our drivers are forced to work long hours in less than ideal conditions and many times repeating a 4 to 5 hour plow route one on top of another due to the continual snowfall. Stress and fatigue combined with blowing and drifting snow can certainly take its toll and cause minor mishaps with mailboxes when drivers and equipment are pushed to the limit. However, make no mistake, if we hit your mailbox with the plow and damage it, we will do what is possible to rectify the situation. What we will not do is repair a mailbox that has been damaged due to snow being cast off the roadway. It gets wet, it gets heavy and simply pushing the snow to the edge of the road will not clear the roadway sufficiently nor allow for additional snow accumulation that must be removed later on.

Placing your mailbox in the public right-of-way is not a right; it is a privilege that we all take for granted. Please keep it back from the edge of road to allow snowplowing and please keep the minimum height from the ground to the bottom of your mailbox structure at least 45”, which allows the plow to pass underneath your mailbox structure without hitting it. Accidents do happen, but if it’s due to the snow removal and wasn’t physically hit by the snowplow, there is nothing we can do for you.

Mother Nature rules the situation and we are merely trying to make the roads passable for all to us. Is it an inconvenience to have to repair or replace your mailbox? Of course. But the safe travelling of our roads due to a dedicated snowplow team outweighs the time and effort you will need to expend making the repairs.

If you want advice as to how and where to place your mailbox, call Rich Gould, Washington Township Road Foremen at 734-3117 and he will gladly provide you with some guidelines and ideas to lessen the burden.

Road markers present issues for plow drivers

In recent years, we have seen a significant increase of markers and/or stakes placed alongside the Township Roads in the wintertime. Residents are placing these to alert snowplow drivers as to the location of their yards in an attempt to keep plows from scalping the grass. Unfortunately, this is creating problems for the drivers for multiple reasons. Let’s take a look at the facts in order to fully understand the position of Township on this growing and tricky situation.

Townships were originally created as a local governmental body to oversee the ongoing maintenance of public roads.  Over the years, more and more responsibilities have been added to the Township’s plate, but still the basic function hasn’t changed (maintaining public roads). All approved Township roads are open to the general public and are maintained for all to utilize, not just the residents of the Township or those that reside on that particular roadway. In addition, 90% of all Washington Township roads have a 50 foot (ROW) Right-of-Way; the remainder have a minimum of 40 foot in width. That means a typical road ROW is 25 foot from the center of the road. A quick measurement will reveal that the ROW extends well into most homeowners yards. This area is used to insure proper width of the cartway, (typically the paved or gravel portion), to facilitate drainage and most importantly for our area to allow for the placement of accumulating snow from regular plowing.

Many residents are placing markers at or very near the edge of the cartway. This makes it impossible to cast any snow from the plows back from the roadway and forces the plow driver to simply push the snow as close to the markers as possible. This makes it unmanageable to remove the accumulating snow back far enough to facilitate placement of future snow, and Lord knows that in Edinboro there will be future snow. The last few years have been kind to us and the markers haven’t been too much of a problem. This year is more like the old fashion Edinboro snows the elders tell us about, and not to be able to utilize the full width of the road is unacceptable.

Another problem this practice causes is the buildup of antiskid on the edge of the cartway. Over the years, this creates a dam so that water cannot enter the ditches along the road. The water then follows the edge causing further damage to the expensive asphalt or gouging out the gravel road and creating a false ditch that must be repaired. Washington Township is home to some beautiful yards, but the areas next to the cartway are not just for aesthetics they have functional uses as well. The edges must be cut down to allow water to shed off the roadway and we must be able to get the snow well of road to allow for future snows and the proper drainage of melting snows and runoff.

Washington Township Council is aware of the situation and encourages you to remove the stakes or move them back several feet from the cartway. If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to call the office at 734-3117 and speak to the Road Foreman, Rich Gould. He will gladly review your concerns and inform you of the best locations to place your markers if you insist on having them, but please be aware that we are not responsible for their removal or destruction as they are in the public ROW, but you will be responsible if they damage a plow. We will not be coming back in the spring to re-landscape your yard if the berms have been gouged out by plowing. Our concern is the roadway and the drainage there of. Our dedicated team of plow drivers work long hard hours to keep the roads open for everyone. They are great plow drivers but they are not landscapers. Your markers may be damaged or removed if they hinder the proper removal of snow, your berms may be scalped if they are too high and snow has to be pushed back. This old fashion Edinboro snow means good old fashion plowing has to be done. We appreciate your understanding of this situation; remember good things are always happening in Washington Township.

Ditching continues and materials available

Need fill for your yard? Give Rick Gould a call at 860-4644 and if the Crew is in your area, they will bring you a load of material. If you see a ditch that needs cleaned, let Rick know. The Township has 73 miles of roads to maintain and do a great job, but can't always be everywhere at once. Be assured the crew is out there every day maintaining the streets and roads. This is your tax dollars at work.

Snowplowing and Parking on Streets

Please read below the Township's Code regarding snowplowing and parking.

ARTICLE I, Snow Removal EN  [Adopted 2-7-1970 by Ord. No. 1-70]
§ 116-1.  Deposit of snow in streets prohibited.
The accumulation or deposit of snow, removed from private driveways or parking areas, within the limits of any street or road between the ditches thereof is hereby prohibited in the Township of Washington, County of Erie, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 
§ 116-2.  Removal of snow from streets; notice.
Any person who shall remove or cause or allow to be removed the accumulation of snow from any private driveway or parking area and deposit or allow it to remain within the limits of any street or road between the ditches thereof shall, upon receipt of notice from the Township Council so to do, forthwith remove the obstruction thereby created. 
§ 116-3.  Violations and penalties.   [Amended 12-3-1996 by Ord. No. 7-96; 7-1-1997 by Ord. No. 3-97] 
A. Enforcement proceedings for violations of this article shall be as provided in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III, Criminal Enforcement. 
B. Any person who shall neglect or refuse to remove such obstruction immediately upon receipt of notice, either by registered mail or personal service, from the Township Council so to do, or any person who permits the violation of this article, shall, upon summary conviction thereof before a District Justice in Erie County, Pennsylvania, be sentenced to pay a fine of $25 per violation and shall be imprisoned to the extent allowed by law for the punishment of summary offenses.   

Asphalt Zipper

Washington Township has purchased an Asphalt Zipper for road maintenance. This machine is the first of its kind in northwest Pennsylvania.

The Asphalt Zipper can grind up approximately 1 mile of old road surfaces and and the crew can compact the materials in an 8-hour work day.