Sibley County Commissioners, Tuesday, unanimously adopted a revised snow and ice control policy for county roads. The new policy prioritizes snow removal routes and defines the level of service on each type of route.
Darin Mielke, County Public Works Director, explained that the policy, which was last updated 11 years ago, now reflects current practices.
The policy defines a storm as a two inch snowfall, drifting, freezing rain or cold temperatures.
Sibley County Public Works is staffed for one shift of maintenance operators for snow and ice control. Snow plows will typically be dispatched between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays. Weekends and holidays will typically be similar start times, but may be modified depending on the resources available. Mielke said the plan is to have the maintenance operators on the road by 5 a.m., not report at 5 and then go on their route.
Public Works will typically use treated (prewetted) magnesium chloride salt when temperatures are zero degrees and rising. A 80/20 blend of sand/salt will typically be used when temperatures are zero degrees and lower, and at other times as deemed appropriate.
New to the County’s policy is the classification of roads. Sibley County has now identified high priority sow plow routes that have more than 500 vehicles per day traveling on the road. Those highways emphasize mobility and are of county importance and connectivity. (Refer to graphic below). Also included on priority routes, but not included on the graphic, are County Road 21 in Gaylord, and County Road 34 in Arlington.
The second classification is other paved surface snow plow routes, that general serve 150-500 vehicles per day, and primarily serve local access with less mobility.
The third classification is gravel surfaced snow plow routes, that have 150 or fewer vehicles per day that primarily provide local access.
For the three different road classifications, minimum standards of service have been established.
On high priority snow plow routes, both lanes on the two lane road will have bare left wheel paths with intermittent bare pavement within 72 hours. Chemicals and abrasives may be applied for the full length of these highways, if conditions warrant their use. Snow plowing may continue throughout a long snowstorm event, if adequate progress is being made.
For other paved surface snow plow routes, both lanes on two lane roads will have intermittent bare left wheel paths within 72 hours. Only intersections, curves, hills and other problem areas will be treated with chemicals and abrasives if conditions warrant their use. Snow plowing will occur less frequently than high priority snow plow routes during a snowstorm and as needed at the end of the snowstorm.
On gravel highways, compacted snow is acceptable with problem intersections sand steep grades (greater than five percent) sanded or rocked. Gravel highways will typically only be plowed once at the end of a snowstorm.