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Mailboxes damaged as Murrysville roads are plowed

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:58 p.m.

Although neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night reputably can stop mail delivery, apparently a snow plow can.

Snowstorms the week after Christmas left Murrysville Public Works with a bunch of broken mailboxes. When road crew employees plowed roads throughout the 34-square-mile municipality, about 100 mailboxes were damaged, said public works director Bob Bell.

“Snow is heavy,” Bell said. “If you get three to six inches, you get an abundance of snow coming off that plow. You're going to knock down a lot of mailboxes.”

And if there's no mailbox, there's no mail, said Murrysville postmaster Bill Smith. Mail carriers brought letters and bills back to the Route 22 post office — a regular occurrence when a property lacks a mailbox.

The end of December was a bad time for mailboxes, Bell said — worse than any time in recent years. When a mailbox goes down, residents call public works so Bell or a foreman can inspect the accident.

With more than 100 mailboxes down, the department is sticking to its policy of replacing mailboxes that are hit and knocked over by a plow but not mailboxes that are knocked over by snow that was pushed by a plow.

The policy warns that any mailbox or post in the right-of-way is there at the owner's risk. The municipality encourages owners to install mailboxes at the maximum usable distance from the street.

Only three of the damaged mailboxes were hit by a plow, Bell said.

“We can't be replacing all of them,” Bell said. “If it's half-rotted or already falling over when the snow hits it, we're not replacing it. If the plow visibly runs over the mailbox, we'll replace it.”

Smith said the influx of undeliverable mail wasn't a noticeable amount, considering his post office delivers to 5,900 customers.

He said he isn't surprised that some homes will have new mailboxes this winter.

“A snow plow isn't discretionary about what type of mailbox it takes out,” Smith said.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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