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April 16, 2018 05:08 PM

Weekend Snow Gate Debate

Usually, Sioux Falls gets around 40 inches of snow in a season. This April alone we've had more than 20 inches. With over 14 inches this past weekend, street crews ran into some issues, and citizens had complaints.

"Imagine a snow gate that's 600 pounds, that's engineered to take maybe 5, 6, 7 inches of snow. And I'm throwing 14.5 inches of heavy wet snow in it. We physically ripped snow gates off the moboards," Sioux Falls Street/Utilities Manager, Galynn Huber said. 

Three hours of this and street manager Galynn Huber told his drivers to stop using snow gates. Huber says it's the first time in 8 years he's decided not to use them.

"It would have taken me all week to probably get the snow plowed in the city if we would have went through and continued that process. Some of the parts on these snow gates takes 3 to 4 days to get," Huber said. 

Huber says for emergency vehicles and people just trying to get to work, that kind of delay didn't make sense.

Even though a lot of citizens were upset with the piles of snow at the end of their driveways, Huber points out when they were using the snow gates, there wasn't much success. 

"When we had the gates up, there was about 3 foot of snow being pushed, on the average being pushed toward the curb. When we put the gates down, there was on the average about 3 foot of snow being pushed into the driveways. There was no benefit whatsoever from us using snow gates," Huber said. 

On Monday, crews were working together, clearing up the snow they left behind across the city.

While it hasn't been ideal for everyone, Huber believes they did their best with what came down. 

"We empathize for the citizens in Sioux Falls that they have to clear that out of their driveway. But again, our mission is to provide clear travel within the streets and as of this morning we had all the streets cleared within the city of Sioux Falls," Huber said.

Huber says he's been hearing about citizens helping each other out, especially people plowing out their elderly neighbors. He anticipates Wednesday will be another rough go for plows.

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