The Numbers Behind Snowplowing

The City of Maple Grove takes great pride in providing safe, clear roadways for the traveling public during the winter season.  To that end, City forces are tasked with clearing snow and controlling ice on approximately 300 miles of roadway and keeping about 130 miles of trails and walks clear.

To do that takes considerable effort and coordination.  Before a snow event, City forces now head out and pretreat certain sections of roadways with salt brine to prevent ice from forming.  We focus these efforts on roadways with steep grades and our heavier volume roadways.  This pretreatment effort allows us to use less salt by preventing the ice from forming in the first place.

During the actual snowfall, crews are out keeping the arterial roadways and collector streets clear as these are the higher speed roadways and experience heavier traffic volumes.  If possible, depending on the timing of the snow event, City forces try to wait until about midnight to go out in full force and clear all of the roadways.  The City has 14 plow routes that cover all of the roads in the City.  It typically takes 8 to 10 hours to clear all of the roadways.  With this timing most of the roadways will be clear before the morning rush hour.

Early in the morning after a snow event, City forces also start to clear the trails and walks.  City forces do not clear the snow on all of the trails and walks, but focus efforts along the major roadways, school walking routes and select recreational areas so residents can enjoy walks around the lakes in Maple Grove year round.

While snow is a battle we fight during storm events, ice is a constant battle all winter long.  Melting snow, “black ice,” and frozen packed down snow all lead to ice during the winter season.  The City has recently started using salt brine to apply salt in a liquid form which allows the salt to attack the ice quicker and also, as mentioned above, allows us to pretreat the roadways.  This method of application has allowed the City to reduce its use of salt over the winter season.  This, combined with the ability to store salt for long periods of time at the newly expanded Public Works Maintenance Facility, will allow the City to save money during the winter season.

The City officially performs a full plow effort after a snow event of 2″ or more.  Smaller snowfall events or successive small events may result in a partial or even full plow response.  If you have any questions or comments about snow plowing activities, please call our Public works Department at (763) 494-6370.

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