My property (mailbox, fence, etc.) was damaged by a snowplow, who should I contact?
If the mailbox is damaged due to snow plowing, and not actual physical contact with a County snowplow, the mailbox replacement and costs are the responsibility of the property owner. During snow removal operations it is necessary for the operator of the plow to move fast enough to allow the snow to roll off the barrel of the plow. As a result, in times of heavy snow there may be damage to mailboxes. It is the Highway Department’s policy that we do not replace or repair mailboxes damaged by the force of snow. Before calling, it may be helpful to review the following to determine if the Highway Department may be responsible for the property damage.
The County may be responsible for the following:
· If it is shown that a piece of County snow removal equipment has caused damage by actual physical contact with a mailbox, the Highway Department will repair or replace the damaged mailbox.
· If a replacement mailbox is needed, the Highway Department will provide and install a standard, conventional mailbox and/or support.
· If it is shown that a piece of County snow removal equipment has caused damage by actual physical contact with a fence or other structure, the Highway Department will review the incident on a case-by-case basis to determine what, if any, responsibility that the Highway Department has to repair the damage. Property owners are reminded that the Highway Department will not be responsible for damage, even if caused by actual physical contact, that occurs to structures that have been improperly located within the public right-of-way.
The County is not responsible for the following:
Damage that is caused to a mailbox, or other properly located structures outside the public right-of-way, as a result of plowed snow or the force of snow being discharged by County snow removal equipment.
· Damage that is caused to any fences, headwalls, trees, shrubs, plantings, and other structures that are improperly located within the public right-of-way.
· Damage that is caused to lawns or for the deposition of gravel in road ditches. If there are extenuating circumstances, these situations may be reviewed at the County’s discretion on a case-by-case basis. Any vegetation damage sustained due to de-icing products used on the roadway will not be treated or repaired by the County.
· Damage to abandoned vehicles that have been left on the County Highway. If the Highway Department personnel come upon an abandoned vehicle, they will contact the Sheriff’s Department to request the vehicle to be removed at the owner’s expense. If a vehicle is blocking one or more lanes halting snow and ice control operations, the Highway Department has the authority to move the vehicle by whatever means are necessary to reopen the roadway. Any damage incurred in such a move shall be the owner’s responsibility.
If it is determined that the mailbox was damaged by actual physical contact by a County snowplow then the mailbox will be replaced by the Highway Department. You should contact the Sawyer County Highway Department at (715) 634-2691.
When placing a new mailbox or changing the location, please install a mailbox on a swinging arm. This will reduce the chances of damage done by snowplows, as they will push out of the way.
Contact the U.S. Postal Service for instructions as to installing a mailbox. They will tell you the height and distance off the road you should place the main pole or post.
Mailbox Installation Requirements
Snow and Ice
The pushing of snow and other materials onto or across the highway, or into the public right-of-way, from side roads and driveways is prohibited by Wisconsin Statutes 86.01, 86.07, and/or 346.94. Doing so may create potential safety concerns for the traveling public and may impede the snow and ice removal process. Furthermore, snow shall not be stored in any manner which will obstruct or limit vehicular or pedestrian vision, movement, or access. If the Highway Department becomes aware of a violation, the property owner may be subject to a fine.
Obstruction of vision clearance triangles at intersections is prohibited by 86.191 of State Statutes and by Sections 4.22 of the County Zoning Ordinance. Placing mailboxes away from driveways and intersections helps to avoid vision restricting snowbanks in late winter, and helps to avoid damage to your mailbox. The nearest part of your mailbox should not be closer to traffic than the shoulder line, with box and base strong enough to withstand wind, flying snow and slush from traffic and snowplows. Avoid penalty and liability, and cooperate towards safer highways. The life you save may be your own.
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