News Flash

City of Minot News Flash

Posted on: April 20, 2022

Snow gates - useful and misunderstood

Broken gate1

Snow gates are often useful and usually misunderstood.

The City of Minot uses the gates on the two blades it owns and the six it leases to help reduce the amount of snow left in an intersection or at the end of a driveway during snow removal operations. They are not intended, however, to eliminate snow windrows, nor are they useful during storms that dump more than six or seven inches of snow on the city.

“They can help minimize the amount of snow a plow leaves behind,” City of Minot Public Works Director Dan Jonasson said. “But they’re not always effective. During a storm like we had last week, they’re essentially useless.”

Blade operators attempted to use the gates during snow removal operations after last week’s historic storm, but the heavy, wet snow quickly overwhelmed the gates. And it broke most of them, too.

“They’re literally ripped apart. There’s not much left of some of them,” Jonasson said. “We tried to use them as much as possible, but the deep, wet snow was too heavy and they broke.”

The Public Works Department makes its own snow gates out of 1/2 –inch steel. “We used to buy gates, but they were pretty lightweight and didn’t last long even in a normal snow event,” Jonasson said. “So we make them ourselves.”

Jonasson said Minot began using snow gates in 1961, when a mayoral candidate vowed to install a snow gate on the City’s lone plow at that time.

“That’s how the City started using snow gates, and we’ve been doing it ever since,” Jonasson said. “We’re about the only major city in the state that uses them on a regular basis.”

The City of Bismarck uses snow gates when snow totals are below six inches. The City of Fargo conducted a study years ago, but does not use snow gates.

City crews will attempt to repair broken gates before the next snowstorm, which could happen this weekend. But some of the gates are beyond repair, and new ones will be built this summer.

“If we can patch some of them together, we’ll try to use them if it snows again,” Jonasson said. “But most of them will have to be replaced with new ones.”

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