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The first real snow event of this winter was a good test for City of Minot crews.
The storm dumped roughly five inches of snow on the Minot area, but didn’t include heavy winds or bone-chilling cold temperatures.
“I think things went really well,” Street Superintendent Kevin Braaten said. “We knew it was coming, so we had a crew out sanding before it started. The snow didn’t get here when it was supposed to; the forecast said it would start at 3 p.m., but it didn’t really start until 6 p.m. We were sanding until about 8 p.m., and then the blade crew came in at 8 p.m. to work a 12-hour shift overnight.”
Braaten said the blades were deployed around 11 p.m., beginning on the designated snow routes according to the City’s snow removal plan.
“This was about a five-inch snow, with minimal wind and decent temperatures,” Braaten said. “I feel like this was a good process for us. It’s the most snow we’ve had at one time in the past couple of years, and we were finished in about 54 hours. I think our crews did a great job.”
Every snow event requires different action, Braaten stressed. For instance, if there’s a blizzard with 8 inches of snow and a lot of wind, it takes a lot longer to clear the snow routes so it takes longer for the blades to get into the residential areas.
“We have to keep those designated snow routes clear for emergency vehicles,” Braaten stressed. “We know that delays us from starting on streets in residential neighborhoods, but the plan is designed that way for a reason.”
How well the roads are cleared after the first snow of the year can set the tone for the rest of the winter.
“We have a snow meeting every year, and we always talk about getting the first snow pushed all the way to the curb. If not, snow accumulates and extends out from the curb and that makes the roads narrower later on. I thought we did really well in that aspect,” Braaten said.
In 2020, the City expanded its usage of a salt/sand brine to pre-treat roadways to help expedite the melting process. In previous years, the City received brine from the North Dakota Department of Transportation, but last year added equipment to make its own brine mixture.
“It’s been a really good tool in our tool box,” Braaten said. “It’s been very useful. We learned that pretreating definitely helps. We did brine the major roadways before this last snow event, and when the snow did start, Broadway stayed in liquid form a lot longer than other roadways.”
Braaten said residents can help snow removal efforts in a few simple ways:
-Remove garbage cans off the roadway.
-Remove vehicles off the roadway.
-When driving, don’t crowd snow removal equipment. Follow at a safe distance until the operator pulls over to let traffic pass.
-Be patient. Crews will follow the approved snow plan, and they will get to your street as soon as possible.
“During a snow event, our crews work 12-hour shifts and they’re missing personal events and family events, and when their shift is over, they have to go home and clean out their own driveways,” Braaten said. “At the end of the day, they’re citizens of our community, just like everyone else.”