You are waiting to get to work, have to take the kids to school, you know how it is. Big snowstorm and you need to get out of your driveway. Most people think the plows are on a long coffee break, or they do other streets first before yours.

There is a reason and a way they plow the streets. The answers make sense and once you know, then you understand why they get to you when they do. We will start with the biggest question everyone asks.

When will my street get plowed?

Charles Wollertz
Charles Wollertz
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City workers are challenged with clearing over 400 miles of city streets. Snowplow operators try their best to get streets cleared for the morning commute. However, it is possible your street may not be cleared immediately following a snowfall. The City asks for your patience as staff works to ensure safe travel for all.

There is a schedule for snowplowing (see question below), but keep in mind that plows are able to remove a 3" snowfall much sooner than a 12" snowfall, for example. It also takes more time to plow heavier snowfalls. During the "Halloween Mega Storm" in 1991, 36" fell over a 3 day period. Although all the equipment and operators worked around the clock, some folks waited up to 5 days to get plowed out.

Is There A Street Priority For The City Of Duluth?

Can of Worms interchange Interstate 35 (I-35) and US Highway 53 in Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
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I talked to a snowplow driver who said that every plow operator is assigned a route, and all routes include some main arteries, residential streets, and alleys in that vicinity. Plow route mileages are all around 50 lane miles each. Generally, after a snow event ends, city plows hit the streets at 2 a.m. and clear the main thoroughfares for the morning rush hour. By around 7 a.m. plows will start on the residential streets, and when those are finished, the alleys are plowed. Depending on the snowfall, it can be up to 56 hours before every street and alley in the city is plowed. Streets are usually plowed in the same order for each storm because it has been found to be the most efficient way to plow that route. Operators will alternate, though, if they have found another order to be just as efficient. Here is the priority map.

Does the City plow all streets and county roads?

St. Louis County road sign
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
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No. There are state and county roadways within the city limits, and those respective authorities plow their own roads. There are some exceptions, though. See the map for details. You can see the street priority map for how they are done. If you have specific questions you can call St. Louis County at 218-625-3800 during normal business hours. You can also access the county map at St. Louis County's website.

Can I use salt and/or sand on my sidewalks?

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Yes to both. Some people have pet safe "salt" they use on the sidewalks so that their pet or neighbors pets don't ingest any chemicals. It is best to make it safe to pass in front of your property, and salting will help make it easy to break up the ice to shovel.

What are the regulations for shoveling sidewalks?

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City ordinance Chapter 45, Article VI states that snow must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snowfall. For questions or concerns regarding sidewalk snow removal, call 218-730-4303.

Can I park on the street if snowplows are coming through?

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You can park on the street IF you follow parking regulations. One of the biggest problems plow operators have is trying to plow streets with illegally parked cars. Parking on the wrong side of the street in a calendar parking area, parking too close to intersections, parking too far away from the curb, and parking in the alley right-of-way are common violations that prevent streets and alleys from being properly plowed. Violators are ticketed and sometimes towed if plows can't get through. Remember you are only causing trouble for your street, if the plow can't get through, you will have to move your car.

Is there anything I can do to help the plow drivers?

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Yes! If you have a driveway or garage, it is best to park there until after plows have been through your neighborhood. It takes more time to plow around a car than to plow against the curb. If you must park on the street, park legally and remind your neighbors to do the same.

What if I can't clear my sidewalk, is there someone I can call?

DenisePohl
DenisePohl
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Yes, there are groups that help older folks and people with disabilities. You can set something up with a snow removal company or neighbor.

What number do I call in the case of an emergency or outside of normal business hours?

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Please call 218-730-4000.

Who do I contact with other snow removal questions?

(during normal business hours)

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Please call 218-730-5430 or email maintenanceops@duluthmn.gov.

For sidewalk concerns or questions, call Dale Sellner at 218-730-4303 or email dsellner@duluthmn.gov.

The plow damaged my property (i.e. car, structure, etc...). Who do I call?

Scott Olson;
Scott Olson;
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The city claims adjuster, Don Douglas, handles all property damage claims. Call 218-730-5276 or email ddouglas@duluthmn.gov.

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