Eileen P. Meaney, Chief Communications Officer
2021-2022 Message to Outdoor Enthusiasts
NHDOT is reminding hikers, ice climbers, skiers, snowshoers, snowmobilers and other backcountry users about leaving vehicles on the side of road.
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) reminds those planning to explore and enjoy NH this winter to be careful when and where they park their vehicles.
During the winter the primary objective of the NHDOT maintenance crews is to clear the roadway as quickly and efficiently as possible so that the highway is made passable and safe for all travelers. The NHDOT and contract plow drivers work in all weather conditions and visibility is often low which can create the potential for a collision with roadside objects. Parking on the roadside puts motorists and our operator’s safety at risk. It also creates delays in our snow removal operations due to needed repairs or replacement of the plow equipment.
Anyone leaving a vehicle unattended on the side of the road, runs the risk of breaking the law and having their vehicle towed away by law enforcement.
Motorists traveling to the backcountry are encouraged plan ahead and to park in clearly marked and designated parking areas, typically found at the summit of mountain passes and at some trail heads. However, many parking areas available during the spring, summer and fall are not plowed for winter use. Those that are plowed, particularly those maintained by NHDOT, are not plowed during storms. These lots may have a single lane plowed if the lot is used as a plow route turnaround or used as a plow driver rest stop, these lots are plowed as part of storm cleanup during regular work hours, Monday thru Friday.
NHDOT’S Winter message is OBEY THE LAW:
NH State law (RSA 262:32) allows for the towing of any vehicle that is "obstructing snow removal or highway maintenance operations." Additionally, residents and visitors are reminded there is no parking at any time along any Interstate highway, including I-93 (Franconia Notch Parkway) in Franconia Notch.
In the past this issue has arisen in the White Mountain Region where some hikers heading for recreation in the mountains have hindered winter maintenance operations by parking on the side of state roads. With the increase in recreational use, the NHDOT wants to avoid conflicts between parked vehicles and maintenance operations which may adversely impact the recreational experience in the state.
If a vehicle is encountered which impacts snow removal activities, it is NHDOT’s long-standing policy to call department dispatchers to summon police to the location to check on it. It is at the discretion of police on what action is taken, which may include a ticket or the vehicle being towed.