The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Linn snowplowing can’t match CR’s numbers; but Linn engineer’s county car almost a banged-up BMW

In City Hall, Linn County government on March 24, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Last week, the city of Cedar Rapids reported that the tough winter of ice and heavy, frequent snows made it challenging for the city’s snowplow drivers.Fifty-five people had filed claims with the city after plows struck vehicles, most of them parked. Most winters, there are fewer than 10 claims.

Steve Gannon, Linn County engineer, on Monday reported that, to date, Linn County had recorded five plow-vehicle accident reports and had paid three claims, two for vehicle repairs and one for a windshield replacement.

One of the accidents involved a BMW, the damage of which, at first, looked fairly substantial. Gannon initially thought that the claim would be sizable enough that it might sense to buy the owner’s interest in the BMW out. Gannon said he then might have ended up driving the banged-up BMW for his county car. It didn’t work out that way.

Gannon said it was a tough winter out in the county as it was in the city. Snowplow drivers encountered many more abandoned vehicles stuck along roadways, which made plow damage more likely.

In one instance, one motorist got stuck, went home and got a second car to pull the first out, and it got stuck. In short order, a couple neighbors came to help and got stuck, too.

“I think we (our snowplows) missed all of them,” Gannon said.

He said the county’s view of things is that the county is not liable if it strikes an abandoned vehicle.

“Now we don’t try to damage cars,” Gannon said. But it becomes the motorist’s responsibility if a car is left in harm’s way, he said.

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