Portland finds more places to dump snow

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PORTLAND — Another week, another storm (or two), and more parking bans.

The 2.3 inches recorded by the National Weather Service last Saturday and Sunday was far less than the forecasts calling for up to 2 feet of snow, but a 36-hour parking ban remained in place through Monday.

As the running total for city snow removal approaches 1 million cubic yards, and the city budget surpasses the $1.4 million allocated for snow removal, Public Services Director Mike Bobinsky on Tuesday said the city has opened a new snow dump.

“The one we opened up at Lucas Tree on Riverside (Street) supplements the outer Congress and Somerset street sites,” Bobinsky said.

The Riverside Street site is actually on city land, and Bobinsky added he is trying to arrange at least one more site to dispose of collected snow.

“We are working on a license agreement and (are) optimistic that will get resolved,” he said.

The city has had snow dumps on Somerset Street in Bayside near Trader Joe’s, one near East End Beach on Cutter Street, and the outer Congress Street site near the Portland International Jetport.

Bobinsky said his crews try to compact the piles with bulldozers, but the lot near the airport is growing so tall it could violate Federal Aviation Administration rules.

Jetport Director Paul Bradbury said Tuesday the city crews would cap the outer Congress Street lot at 40 feet tall, although FAA regulations would allow for almost 15 feet more.

“The snow storage site on outer Congress is directly under the Runway 11 approach,” Bradbury said, adding the height guidelines add a foot for every 50 feet from the end of the runway.

While the formula would allow a pile to reach 56 feet, crews also need room to maneuver heavy equipment in the snow piles.

“The 40-foot mark is a good benchmark for Public Services to use as they pile snow in this location,” Bradbury said.

The city could seek state permits to dump snow into Back Cove or Casco Bay, but that is seen as a last resort, City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said last week.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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The Time and Temperature Building on Congress Street in Portland was barely visible Sunday afternoon behind the snow dump on Somerset Street in Bayside. The weekend storm dropped far less snow than expected, but city dumps are filling quickly.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.