Duluth Officials Address Snow Removal Concerns

City has 3 tiers for clearing snow on roads and 5 tiers for clearing sidewalks

DULUTH, Minn. – The City of Duluth wants residents and businesses to know they feel your frustrations with the mounting snow throughout the city.

But they also say this wild winter has been tough on equipment and operators.

They’re tackling streets, sidewalks, and alleys the best they can with the resources available.

City crews have three tiers for removing snow from Duluth streets and five tiers for clearing sidewalks, but the relentless winter storms have made it hard for them to clear the lower priority areas.

“What has been happening this winter for us unfortunately is that after we’re into the second day, sometimes the third day, it snows again not unlike what it’s doing today and we have to start with our first tier again,” said Dale Sellner, the city’s parks and grounds maintenance supervisor.

The first streets to be cleared are Duluth’s main arteries and emergency routes for police, fire, ambulance, and the DTA.

Tier two is residential streets and tier three is alleys which can sometimes get delayed.

The city’s thirty-eight plow operator usually begin clearing snow at 2:00 a.m. and work sixteen hour shifts, then a skeleton crew works overnight.

“We’ve got some of the best equipment, we’ve got a greater fleet that’s probably unmatched in the entire state of Minnesota, we’ve got highly qualified operators and in a normal winter they can keep up,” said Jim Benning, Director of Public Works and Utilities.

Public works staff also addressed the snow banks in West Duluth that are now more than five feet high in some spots. They are planning to have that snow removed by next weekend.

They say the best way residents can help plow drivers is by obeying alternate side parking laws and placing garbage cans at least three feet from where plows pass.

This summer the city will look at changing their emergency ordinance to better keep up with snow removal next year and they say they’ve also ordered another machine to help clear sidewalks.

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