Winter Street Maintenance
Public Works Department
4646 Dakota St. SE
Prior Lake, MN 55372
Interim Public Works Director Jason Wedel
Every winter storm has different precipitation, temperatures and wind fluctuations, and the duration of each has an impact on road conditions and how the City’s snow and ice control operations are implemented.
WINTER PARKING RESTRICTIONS
In order to expedite the prompt and efficient removal of snow from City streets, it is unlawful for any person to park any vehicle on any street within the city between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. from Nov. 1 until March 31. It is also unlawful to park any vehicle at all other times following a continuous or intermittent snowfall with an accumulation of two or more inches, or during a snow emergency, until the snow has been plowed to the full width of the street. Any vehicle parked in violation of this subsection may be towed pursuant to Minnesota Statutes Section 169.041. A violation of this subsection shall be a petty misdemeanor. The city contracts with Allen's Towing Service at (952) 894-1000, 7215 W. 128th St. in Savage.
The City of Prior Lake has developed a cost effective and environmentally friendly program for keeping our roads safe during the winter months. Using a brine mixture the city can effectively prevent most ice from ever forming. This practice prevents the snow or frost from bonding or compacting to the pavement surface thus providing vehicles direct contact to the pavement surface when traveling the streets. The product in most cases is salt brine, which is chloride (salt) diluted to a 23% solution with water. In relevant terms, one gallon of brine consists of two pounds of salt. The City also uses additional environmentally-friendly products to enhance the properties of the brine without adding chlorides. The liquid treatments are typically more effective at ice control for precipitation depths less than 0.5” and are more economical than dry salt products. Anti-Icing operations may occur 48 hours in advance of an approaching storm, anticipated frost or prior to weekends in which forecasts call for some form of precipitation. The City does maintain a supply of granular salt for those times that conditions are beyond the treatment capacity of the liquid methods and for critical areas. Click here for more information about the brine mixture program.
Plowing operations greatly depend on the duration of a snow event, depth of snow fall, temperature and form of precipitation. No two storms are the same so plowing operations are adjusted accordingly. The following are the City's general guidelines when determining how to plow snow:
For events with heavy accumulations over 12 hours or more, the City may use shifts to keep plows on the road to reasonably maintain open travel lanes on priority routes while the snow is still accumulating. In these cases, it may take up to 12 hours after the snow has stopped to clear City streets. Snow removal may be conducted on a 24-hour basis, which may result in snow removal equipment being operated in residential areas during the evening, night and early morning hours. Due to safety concerns for the plow operators and the public, operations may be terminated after 10-12 hours to allow personnel adequate time for rest. For smaller storms, the City may wait until the snow accumulations have ceased before beginning plowing operations to ensure complete snow removals. Click here for the Streets Snow Plowing Map. Click here for the Trails & Sidewalks Snow Plowing Map.
Streets are generally plowed with a single pass in each direction first. Once all the roads on a route have been opened up, a second pass is made “winging” the snow from the street onto the boulevard storage area. These widening and clean-up operations may continue immediately, or on the following working day, depending on the circumstances. During seasons with extreme snowfall, the process of clearing the streets may be delayed, and it may not be reasonably possible to completely clear the streets of snow.
Cul-de-sacs are plowed with one pass along the curb to provide an outlet for the driveways, with snow being piled in the middle of the cul-de-sac, where possible. Crews will clean up the cul-de-sac later that day, or the following work day, as time permits. Snow removal will only occur when no storage space is available in the cul-de-sac area.
The downtown area will be plowed from curb to curb with the snow pushed into piles where feasible. Crews will remove the snow piles during non-business hours.
The City has categorized City streets, facilities, trails, sidewalks and recreational facilities based on the function, use volume, and importance to the welfare of the community.
|Snow Plowing Priorities|
|Priority 1 - Streets classified as “Snow Plow Routes” are plowed first. These are high volume streets, which connect major sections of the City and provide access for emergency fire, police and medical services. The “Priority Snow Plow Routes” map above will show these streets and Daytime Snow Emergency Routes. Non-street facilities classified as “High” Priority include the Fire Halls, Downtown and pedestrian routes for schools and public safety.|
|Priority 2 - Streets providing access to schools and commercial businesses|
|Priority 3 - Low volume residential streets and alleys|
|Priority 4 - Medium priority non-street facilities|
|Priority 5 - Low priority non-street facilities|
Snowplow Safety Tips
The City utilizes a variety of equipment to complete the snow and ice control operations. These vehicles are equipped with plows, tanks and applicators to efficiently remove snow and ice but can impact the field of vision of the operator. Although operators do take care to watch for traffic around them, drivers are asked to stay back at least 200 feet from the rear of the snow plow. Snow plows make frequent stops and also make three-point turns which require the vehicle to back up. If a plow stops in front of you please use caution when passing to ensure the operator can see you. Staying back at least 200 ft. allows the operator to see and react to other vehicles around them.
If a city a city snowplow damages your mailbox or other property, contact the Public Works Department at (952) 447-9800. In most cases, the City will replace the mailbox in the spring with a 4x4 Cedar Post and mailbox (or $50), but does not replace ornamental or structural mailboxes of stone or concrete in the right of way, reserving the right to use that property for snow storage. Click here for the Mail Box Regulations.
It is possible for a snowplow to skip or jump over a curb or beyond the pavement catching the underlying sod. The City evaluates the curb and road lines in the spring and will make appropriate repairs. If you wish to mark your curb, markers are available at the Maintenance Center.
Clearing Driveways and Sidewalks
Property owners are required to clear snow from their driveways and sidewalks adjacent to the property. This is to provide a clear path for pedestrians and children walking to school. You may have to clear the driveway a second time after your street has been plowed. Placing snow in the street is prohibited.
Clearing Fire Hydrants
The Prior Lake Fire Department requests that neighbors share in the responsibility of making fire hydrants accessible to first responders. This saves firefighters valuable time when responding to a fire at your home or within your neighborhood. A three-foot clearance is recommended.