Once the emergency routes were cleared in Sioux Falls Friday, the street department's fleet of snow gates hit a half-dozen neighborhoods in what's been their biggest test to date.
The future of snow gates in Sioux Falls rises and falls on how well they perform their winter cleanup chores.
"This is six-inches; this is going to be a good test for us," Sioux Falls Street/Fleet Manager Galynn Huber said.
Homeowners in the test neighborhoods are glad they don't have to shovel mounds of snow from the end of their driveways after the snow gates passed through.
"I'm really satisfied with the job it does," homeowner Larry Bouska said.
Plowing a half-foot of snow is a taller-than-usual order to fill for the snow gates.
"I want to see what six inches looks like when it's coming into the blade and we shut that. If it's going to pour over the blade or if it's going to stay in the blade," Huber said.
The snow gates had a little trouble with curves. This driveway at the end of a cul-de-sac has two-feet of snow the homeowner will have to shovel.
"When they've gone around a cul-de-sac, you've got issues where driveways are closer together to begin with and so they're going to deposit a lot more snow, especially at the top of the circle. That's probably the only bad situation in town, really, with them," Bouska said.
Snow gates take more time as they multi-task through the neighborhood. But to many homeowners, they're worth the wait.
"I had tears of joy; I thought it was great," Bouska said.
This is the first time the snow gates have been out since a storm in late December dropped nearly five inches of snow. Huber says the snow gates worked well back then.
Voters will decide next year if the use of snow gates should expand citywide.