Parts of Iowa have already seen 40, 50 and even 60-inches of snow this season, with a full month of winter still left. It’s posing a significant challenge for the owners of large parking lots as they’ve already piled snow into small mountains. Tim Schwartz, spokesman for Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids, says they’ve already gotten 55-inches of snow and it’s heaped in 20-foot-high piles, but they’re running out of room.
Schwartz says, "If we get any more snow, I’m probably going to have to pay to have some of the snow trucked off the lot, but at this point in time, we’re in pretty good shape." Craig Hanson, a spokesman for Cedar Rapids Public Works, says city code is strict on snow piles so rights-of-way and motorists’ views aren’t obstructed.
Hanson says some places could face fines if they don’t comply. Hanson says: "There’s a few isolated cases. When they do occur, we send letters to the property owners and we also tag and give notices to the actual operators doing it." When it comes to safety, city leaders worry about more than just drivers, as snow piles can cover up fire hydrants, storm drains and even mailboxes.
Snow plow driver Chuck Hanson says their options for snow storage are running out. "We never got the January thaw, so none of the snow was taken away by Mother Nature. We just keep pushing it and pushing it and pushing it and there’s no relief," Hanson says. Cedar Rapids leaders are even considering raising the fine for illegal snow piles.