Preparing for winter

More streets in Minot have been added to a list of priority routes for snow removal this winter.

In snow emergencies, the City of Minot can require removal of all parked vehicles from snow-route streets and can tow and impound vehicles in violation.

“We really need folks to check the streets and know whether or not they are parking on a snow route. We have to be more diligent about getting cars off of the snow routes during, and in the days after, a storm until those roads are clear,” said Robert Lindee, public information officer for the city. “As the city grows, this is even more important since we have a lot more vehicles in town now.”

The city increased its snow routes by adding new streets and by incorporating other secondary routes that it had been clearing once the primary snow routes were open. The city determined it’s more efficient to complete all snow routes in one area rather than return later to complete secondary routes.

New snow routes this coming winter are:

27th Street Northwest between Fourth and 19th avenues northwest.

36th Avenue North between 8th and 16th streets northwest and from Broadway to 13th Street Northeast.

27th Street East between Valley Street and Railway Avenue.

55th Street Northeast from U.S. Highway 2 & 52 to Ward County Road 12.

Valley Street.

13th Street Southeast between Valley Street and 31st Avenue Southeast.

20th Avenue South from 16th Street West to 13th Street East.

Second Avenue Southwest between Sixth and 30th streets southwest.

Central Avenue between 16th and 30th streets west.

20th Street Northwest from Fourth Avenue Northwest to Sunset Boulevard.

Sunset Boulevard between 19th and 21st avenues northwest.

19th Avenue Northwest from Sunset Boulevard to the U.S. Highway 83 Bypass.

The city’s updated snow plan extends the route on 16th Street West to run from 37th Avenue South to 36th Avenue Northwest. It extends the route on 30th Avenue Northwest from Broadway to the Highway 83 Bypass.

Routes remaining on the list from previous years are:


Burdick Expressway.

37th Avenue South from Broadway to 16th Street Southwest.

21st Avenue Northwest between the Highway 83 Bypass and Broadway.

Sixth Street West from 19th Avenue Southwest to Fifth Avenue Northwest.

Eighth Street West between Fifth and 30th avenues northwest.

Third Street East from 14th Avenue Southeast to Airport Road.

Airport Road from Third Street Northeast to Broadway.

Second Street East between 14th and 20th avenues southeast.

11th Avenue South from 16th Street Southwest to Hiawatha.

Hiawatha from 16th Avenue Southeast to Valley Street.

16th Avenue South from 16th Street Southwest to 13th Street Southeast.

Fourth Avenue North from the Highway 83 Bypass to Third Street Northeast.

Railway Avenue between Third and 27th streets northeast.

University Avenue from 16th Street Northwest to Third Street Northeast.

31st Avenue South from 16th Street Southwest to 13th Street Southeast.

Lindee said the city is asking residents to be patient in waiting for plows to open roads after a storm. The city has more than 500 lane miles of roadway, which is equivalent to driving from Minneapolis to Minot. The difference is that blades work at speeds of 5 to 10 mph and stop every few hours to install new cutting edges, he said.

“That means that it typically takes between 72 and 96 hours to clear the streets after a storm. During a major blizzard, they have to concentrate on clearing the way for emergency vehicles, and maintaining snow routes,” Lindee said.

Once snow routes are opened, motor graders will start on hillside streets and school areas, which include the immediate block around the school and any major route to a school.

The city then will assign two motor graders to three quadrants of the city to clear residential areas. The fourth quadrant will be cleared when one of the first three is complete. One motor grader will roam and be used for emergencies.

Neighborhoods aren’t cleared until a storm ends. Neighborhoods are cleared in the order in which the snow and wind have had the greatest impact or will be rotated so that no area is last each time.

Following is information from the city’s snow plan, which also is available on the home page of the city website at (

The city has seven motor graders equipped with snow gates, which limits the amount of snow discharged in driveways and around mailboxes. The snow gates are only effective for snow accumulations of less than 6 inches. The gates also aren’t useful in wet snow conditions because the weight puts too much pressure on the gates and can break them.

The city has three truck plows that are used in areas with fewer driveways. The plows remove snow quickly but cannot control snow discharge so aren’t normally used in residential areas.

The city’s two skid steer loaders are used on sidewalks, and the two front-end loaders remove snow from intersections, cul-de-sacs and areas of heavy drifting. Snow in cul-de-sacs also is removed with motor graders and will be stockpiled in the center of the cul-de-sac, vacant lots or within the berm of adjacent property owners. If snow is stockpiled in the middle of the cul-de-sac, the city will remove it as conditions and time permits. Parking will be restricted until the snow is removed.

The city uses its snow blower to remove snow from blocked areas and in the snow-hauling operations.

The city uses a mixture of 10 parts sand to one part salt on icy roads. The city’s primary objective is to cover major intersections, hillsides and bus routes. The city’s four truck-mounted sanders will respond to requests from the public and the police department. Two city employees will be on call during the winter for sanding and other snow removal operations.

During normal snow accumulations, crews will work 12-hour shifts.

Heavy snow accumulations are considered to be eight inches or more, although lower accumulations can be an emergency if accompanied by high winds. During these conditions, snow removal operations continue round the clock. All motor graders will be in operation, and additional equipment will be manned as necessary to keep up with snow removal.

The street department is staffed with two foremen, 14 heavy equipment operators and nine light equipment operators. In an emergency, personnel can be transferred from other departments to assist. When private contractors are used, they will be assigned specific areas.

Until snow emergencies have ended, streets won’t be cleaned curb to curb, but an attempt will be made to keep the streets passable.

All operations in the central business district will take place at night in conjunction with the daytime work in the residential areas. Streets downtown will be cleared on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and avenues will be cleared on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The downtown alleys will be cleared and sanded as necessary to facilitate business operations.

Unless there is an emergency, other alleys won’t be cleared until streets are cleaned. A front-end loader will make one pass through the alleys. Any snow accumulations outside the path will be the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.

Once a storm has subsided and streets have been cleaned, night crews will begin hauling snow from downtown. Snow will be hauled according to the alternate street parking schedule. When conditions warrant, snow will be hauled from bridges, Broadway, Burdick Expressway, Fourth Avenue Northwest, Third Street East and 16th Street Southwest.

In late winter and early spring, crews will clear and haul snow from drainage areas and catch basins to facilitate runoff and try to avoid ponding and property damage.