Mailbox Guidelines Our plow drivers are warned to take all precautions to avoid striking mailboxes with the wing of the plow. Below are some tips for mailbox placement to help reduce the changes of damage during winter plowing:
- Place reflective material on the side of the box visible to approaching traffic, also, 4" high letters to identify the address is recommended to assist emergency vehicles.
- Mailbox post size must not exceed 4" by 4" for a wooden post or 2" diameter for a steel pipe post for roadside barrier safety. Posts that are more substantial in construction are considered "deadly fixed objects" and are not permitted within the Town Way.
- Mailboxes should be installed at least 42 inches high to provide clearance for the plow wing as shown in the picture on the right. We recommend the use of an extended arm type of post with a free-swinging suspended mailbox as shown on the picture to the right. This allows snowplows to sweep near or under boxes without damage to supports and provides easy access to the boxes by carrier and customers.
Your participation and cooperation in complying with the above will be greatly appreciated by your rural carrier, postal service and Saco Public Works Department.
In the event your mailbox is damaged by the city plow we ask you to make any needed temporary repairs. If you are unable to make such repairs on your own please call Public Works at 284-6641 and we will attempt to repair or replace the mailbox as we deem appropriate and when time permits. See below for complete replacement standards.
Examples of Set Backs:
Mailbox Support Design:
It is best to use an extended arm type of post with a free-swinging suspended mailbox. This allows snowplows to sweep near or under boxes without damage to supports and provides easy access to the boxes by carrier and customers. The picture below shows a free-swinging suspended mailbox.
Mailboxes should be set back from the edge of the shoulder - regardless of whether the shoulder is gravel or paved. In other words, the face of the mailbox should be at least one foot (1') back from the edge of the normally plowed surface of the highway or the face of curb. Greater offset distances are encouraged whenever possible to allow the mail carrier to get further out of traffic and to further minimize potential damage to your mailbox. The photo below shows a mailbox with a reasonable offset.
According to USPS standards, a mailbox must be installed with the bottom of the mailbox located between 41" and 45" high above the surface of the highway shoulder. We recommend that this height be closer to the 45" measurement to minimize conflict with the height of the plow truck wing when snow is being pushed back during, or between, winter storms. The photo to the br;pe further clarifies the height considerations.
Post Size, Type and Embedment Mailbox posts must be sturdy enough to hold up the mailbox in all types of weather conditions; however they cannot be so rugged that they present a hazard to vehicles that inadvertently leave the road. If a mailbox support is struck by a vehicle, it must easily break away. Therefore, the following types of posts are deemed acceptable:
- 4" x 4" wooden posts embedded 2 feet into the ground. Larger wooden posts may be used only if the post is drilled through with an appropriate spade bit to create a shear plane that is no higher than 6" above the surface of the surrounding ground. The number and size of the drilled holes depends upon what is necessary to bring the cross-section of the larger post down to the equivalent cross-sectional area of a standard 4" x 4" post. (MaineDOT Standard Specification 606.06)
- 1" to 2" round diameter steel or aluminum pipe or standard U-channel post embedded 2 feet into the ground.
- Unacceptable mailbox supports include: anything that is filled with concrete, masonry and stone structures, heavy steel structures, and most objects that were intended for other uses (e.g. antique plows, I-beams, and various other household tools and objects).
Replacement Standards: The City of Saco recognizes that having your mailbox hit during a snow storm can be an inconvenience and nuisance. Please understand we caution our drivers to pay close attention to mailbox locations, however sometimes it is simply unavoidable. Should your box be hit, the City does make an effort to replace the box for you. However, our schedule will create sometimes a 4 or 5 day wait in doing so. We will not replace ANY ornate, special box, post, or newspaper box. If you wish to have the City incur the costs for replacement, the box will be replaced with a standard metal box along with a standard wooden post. At times, your box will be placed on a "spring" list if the post is unrepairable and needs a complete replacement. The City will never reimburse for replacement.