Cape Gazette

Mailboxes take a hit during recent snowstorm

Residents can be reimbursed to cover damage
By Ron MacArthur | Mar 21, 2014
Photo by: Ron MacArthur This section of mailboxes along Route 9 near Lewes has nearly been destroyed by snow pushed aside by DelDOT snowplows.

The winter's frequent snowstorms have taken a hit on residents who have mailboxes along rural roads in Sussex County.

Many residents can tell stories about replacing their mailboxes over the past few winters, but the March 17 storm in Sussex County resulted in destruction of scores of mailboxes, thanks to flying snow from Delaware Department of Transportation snowplows. A count along Route 9/404 between Lewes and Georgetown shows that more than 90 boxes were knocked off poles, bent or completely destroyed.

Residents can report damage using toll-free number »

DelDOT officials note that every reasonable precaution is taken to prevent or minimize damage to property during its operations.

However, if property is damaged, residents can report it to the Delaware insurance coverage office at 1-877-277-4185.

The good news is residents with damaged mailboxes can be reimbursed to replace them.

“Even though we do all we can to avoid hitting mailboxes, knocking over mailboxes is an unfortunate byproduct of what we do. We have a limited amount of time to clear the roads, and it’s important that we make the roads as safe as possible,” said DelDOT spokesman Jim Westhoff.

Contrary to what most think, it's not the snowplow blades that cause the damage; it's the flying snow hitting the mailboxes, Westhoff said. “The reason so many mailboxes were knocked down during this event is because the snow was unusually heavy and wet,” he said.

“By the time we plowed the snow from the shoulders, we were not only moving the snow that fell on the shoulders, but also we were moving all of the snow that fell onto the travel lanes. That was a lot of heavy, wet snow. In storms past, the snow was lighter and dryer, so it had a lot less energy when we plowed it from the roads,” he said.


This mailbox was ripped off its support during plowing following the most recent snowstorm. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
More than 90 mailboxes along Route 9/404 between Lewes and Georgetown will need to be repaired or replaced. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Damage is not limited to mailboxes as several telephone junction boxes are in shambles along Route 9. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
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