Brainerd crews finish last of snow removal after storm
A record-breaking December snowfall in the Brainerd lakes area meant a lot of overtime for street plowers. The city of Brainerd's street department crew worked Thursday, Jan. 3, to remove the last of the snow windrows in the middle of the streets...
A record-breaking December snowfall in the Brainerd lakes area meant a lot of overtime for street plowers.
The city of Brainerd's street department crew worked Thursday, Jan. 3, to remove the last of the snow windrows in the middle of the streets left over from plowing after last week's storm and a New Year's snowfall.
The post-plowing snow removal took a little longer than expected, city engineer Paul Sandy said Thursday, when two city trucks broke down Wednesday, leaving crews with only three to work with. One was back in commission Thursday, along with a rental from Tom's Backhoe Service.
"When we're down one (truck) it just takes that much longer to go around and come back and pick up more," Sandy said. "And the sheer amount of snow we had is taking a very long time to get (the snow) removed."
If crews hadn't finished Thursday night, Sandy said they would do so first thing Friday morning.
Mother Nature dumped roughly 12-14 inches of snow on the lakes area Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Dec. 26-28, and followed it up with about 5 more inches New Year's Eve.
Plowing went fairly smoothly considering the significant amount of snow that fell in such a short time period, Sandy said.
"Those two-day storms are tough to plan for," he added. "Obviously everything takes a little longer when you have those 12- to 14-inch snowfalls. People really get used to the snow being off the street right away, but there's things that we can't control, and that's how much snow there is on the street."
The city's seven street department workers and two additional parks department employees-brought in during severe snowstorms-went to work on roads, sidewalks and parking lots about 6 a.m. Thursday, Sandy said. The crew prioritized snow emergency routes and worked until about 4:30 p.m. before stopping to await the end of the snow. They got back out about 5 a.m. Friday and worked all day to clean up the rest of the storm's generous white deposit and moved much of it to the center of roads. Crews removed some of those windrows while working overtime on Saturday before another dousing of snow came Monday night.
"After the first snowfall on Thursday and Friday, we got everything done, basically everything opened up on Friday," Sandy said. "And then same thing on Monday-we plowed the whole city again, and now we're just working on all of the pickup."
Snow removal began Wednesday.
A method to the madness
"There is a certain order we go in," Sandy said of the city's plowing process. "A lot of people think there's really no method to our madness, but we try to do things the most efficient way possible.
"We do get phone calls about people wanting to get out in the morning, and we try to get to them as soon as we can."
Emergency routes, though, take priority. Sandy said crews try to get those roads done as soon as possible, with emergency routes and Laurel and Oak streets taking special precedent "just so we can get emergency vehicles out of town if need be," Sandy said.
Per the city's snow emergency ordinance, parking is restricted on north/south streets the first day of a snow emergency and on east/west streets the second day, to allow plows to clean the streets in an orderly fashion.
Sandy said he feels the city's seven street department employees are adequate for snow removal, despite long hours during and after severe storms, and even though it is a decrease from the 10 employees the department had a few years ago.
"We've been getting by with our seven employees, and things seem to be working well," Sandy said. "I think if we have the data to prove that there is the need for an extra employee, then the city council's always willing to look at it with the city staff. If we can increase our level of service just a little bit with that one employee, it would obviously be a benefit to everyone."