Snow Management Continues After Storm

The Dec 11 storm that dumped 18 inches of snow across the Twin Cities meant two days of nearly around-the-clock work for Golden Valley’s Public Works Department, but that was only the beginning. Once the snow settled, City crews immediately began chiseling away at a long list of snow management jobs.

“We’ll be chasing this storm for a couple of weeks,” says Street Maintenance Supervisor Chuck Perkins.

As the snowstorm built, Golden Valley plow crews started up around 4 am Saturday, Dec 11, and worked 15 hours straight, plowing about 90 percent of city streets twice. Three sidewalk clearing machines started working around 8 am and continued for the next 12 hours. At that point crews were just trying to keep up with the snow, plowing the center of each street so traffic could get through.

“It was snowing so fast that by the time we finished round one, it didn’t look like we’d plowed at all,” says Public Works Maintenance Manager Bert Tracy.

After-Storm Clean-Up
The storm was over Sunday, and the entire crew was back to work at 4 am for another nine hours, plowing streets curb to curb, de-icing, and doing clean-up. They were back again at midnight to do more de-icing and to start hauling snow from critical areas. Crews also began a 16-hour split-shift sidewalk clearing operation.

“We can usually clear up to three miles of sidewalk per hour with our equipment, but after a storm like this, we’re clearing less than one mile per hour,” Perkins says. “When the snow has nowhere to go, banks get high and sidewalks can’t get cleared until the snow is removed.”

On Monday and Tuesday, crews started hauling snow from areas where there is no room for storage and where accumulated piles of snow create hazardous conditions. Using a large snow blower on the front of an end loader, crews remove snow from the sides of bridges (like the Winnetka Ave bridge over I-394) and similar areas and haul it to the City’s snow storage site. These snow clearing and clean-up operations continue, by priority, until the situation is under control on all City streets.

“Our successful snow management operation is due to Golden Valley’s commitment to quality and a high level of service,” says Tracy. “We’re fortunate that we have enough equipment and manpower to handle the snow expediently.”

“We also appreciate the cooperation from our residents,” adds Tracy. Very few cars were tagged by the police because of failure to move them off the streets in accordance with the City ordinance.”

Street Priorities
During and after a storm, the City clears streets based on how they are classified regarding function, traffic volume, and importance to the welfare of the community. Minor arterial and collector streets are plowed first. These are high volume routes that connect major sections of the city and provide access for emergency, fire, police, and medical services. Second priority streets provide access to schools and commercial businesses, and third priority streets are low-volume residential streets. Fourth priority areas include alleys and City campus parking lots.

Important Snow Management Issues
After a large storm is a good time to remind citizens of their own snow management responsibilities, says Tracy.

Parking is prohibited on any public street after a snowfall of at least two inches until the snow has been plowed to the curb line. Vehicles in violation are cited by patrolling police. Vehicles found to be obstructing traffic or snowplows, and those still in violation after 24 hours, may be towed.

Stay informed of weather forecasts and move your vehicle from the streets whenever snow is in the forecast. The City of Golden Valley also emails or texts snow emergency alerts–sign up here. The Snow Emergency option is at the bottom of the list, under the subhead “Streets and Utilities.”

Private Snow Removal
According to Minnesota statute and City ordinance, snow cannot be moved from any private property to the street, public right-of-way, or to another private property. When snow is being removed from your driveway or parking lot (whether you do it or hire someone to do it), make sure it stays off of roadways, sidewalks, and adjacent property.

When large volumes of snow are moved from streets to boulevards, mailboxes can be affected. The City repairs or replaces mailboxes only if they are actually hit by a snowplow.

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