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Cleaning up the city after a major snow event is an around-the-clock process that follows an approved snow plan. Pedestrian walkways are part of that plan.
“This last snow event took about 54 hours to hit every road in Minot, and I think that was a pretty good response considering the amount of snow we had,” Street Superintendent Kevin Braaten said. “We started on Sunday night at 8 p.m., and by about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning we had hit all the residential areas. Now we’re out widening areas and cleaning up areas where cars were parked, and we’ll start hauling snow from downtown tonight.”
Following the snow plan and after clearing the city’s 1,200 lane miles of roadway, City crews have also begun the process of clearing snow from pedestrian walkways around the city.
As part of the snow plan, sidewalks are addressed after crews have completed cleaning snow routes, hills, school zones, and residential areas. How quickly crews begin clearing pedestrian routes depends on how much snow fell and how quickly the roads are made passable and safe.
“In this last snow event, we opened the pedestrian walkways around Broadway and the Third Street viaduct as soon as we could because we know there’s a lot of pedestrian usage there,” Braaten said. “We hit those areas about 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. With the amount of personnel and equipment we have available, we try to get started on sidewalks as soon as we can, but we follow the snow plan.”
The number of City owned pedestrian walkways has risen dramatically in the past few years as a result of property being acquired for the ongoing Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Plan.
“Some of the acquisition areas aren’t necessarily the first priority because generally there are fewer people living in those areas, but we know there are residents who use the sidewalks in those areas and it’s important that they’re cleared as soon as possible,” Braaten said.
There aren’t specific crew members assigned to clear sidewalks, and it’s normally all hands on deck clearing the city’s roads after a significant snow event. But when crews are caught up with clearing the City’s roadways, some members will be dispatched to begin working on sidewalks.
“We try to take care of the shared use paths as soon as we can, and we focus on the highest traveled areas first,” Braaten said on Wednesday morning. “Today we’re hitting 16th Street Southwest from the water treatment plant all the way south to 37th Avenue. We know that’s an area of high usage, and we want to get it cleared as soon as we can.”