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Our priority routes (redlines) are cleared first after any snowfall. Redlines are routes identified by Public Safety and Public Works to ensure emergency vehicles can get within one or two blocks of every home in the city. During a routine snow event it takes approximately 2-4 hours to clear these routes.
After the redlines are cleared, our local routes are plowed with rotating starting points. Fridley is split into 12 districts, and each district has four different starting points. Each time there is a snowfall, the plows begin at a different starting point within each district. If your area was last to be plowed in the previous event, it will not be last the next citywide plowing. Plowing the districts takes approximately 6-8 hours during routine snow events.
We plow virtually all City trails and walks, and many County trail segments so that you can walk in the winter. Trails and walks are plowed in conjunction with streets, with two routes covering the City. For heavier snow events, trail and walk plowing may be delayed a day or two behind street plowing. A priority is placed on plowing near schools, and additional plowing is often required continuing days after snow events as County and State plowing may recover trails. When walks and trails are completed, the City assists the Metropolitan Council and MnDOT by removing snow from bus stops on state, county, and local roads.
By City policy, plows will go out after two or more inches of snow accumulation, following the end of a snowfall. This can change depending on the type of snow and rate it is falling. For example, if we have a snowfall of less than two inches but the snow will freeze overnight and create a great amount of de-icing after the fact, we will most likely go out and plow.
Typically, plows will begin clearing the redlines around 3:30-4:30 a.m. following a snowfall. If there is continuous snow that accumulated, they may begin the night before and plow again in the early morning. Our goal with normal snowfalls is to clear main roadways (redlines) in time for the morning commute. Of course, timing, amount, and type of snowfall, as well as preceding and future conditions all factor into scheduling and type of response for plowing and de-icing.
Our Public Works staff will also be using an anti-ice trailer for the first time this year. This trailer will allow staff to spray a diluted brine mixture on the road before a snowfall to prevent ice from forming, which reduces the amount of road salt needed after the snowfall event.
If your mailbox is hit by a plow, please call our Public Works main line at 763-572-3566. If it was damaged or knocked over by the plow blade, we will replace it or reimburse you. We encourage you to inspect your street side mailbox and post before the snow season to make sure it will hold up to thrown snow and avoid disruption in your mail delivery.
The angle of our snowplow blades is fixed to the right to plow snow from the centerline of the street to the curb. When there is an opening, such as a driveway, some of the snow is released into that area. It is the resident’s responsibility to remove the snow in the end of the driveway. The snow should not be pushed across or into the street or neighboring yard. You can be a good neighbor by finding a place to locate snow within your property. We appreciate your cooperation in maintaining clear, safe streets in our community!
If you have an unusual amount of snow or large portions of ice pushed into your driveway, please call Public Works at 763-572-3566.
Trash and recycling bins should be placed in the area within the end of your driveway. We ask that you refrain from putting your bins in the street or sidewalk route. When you place them in the street or within the sidewalk, it slows the plows down and creates a hazard they must navigate around. Plows can be much safer and more efficient when the bins go in the end of your driveway. If a walk or trail is adjacent to the curb, please place your bin just behind the curb at your driveway.
Due to the size of our plows and their equipment, it is very difficult to navigate around obstacles in the roadway. Vehicles left in the street prevent our plows from removing snow to the curb line which results in large snow piles deposited in the road. These piles can quickly freeze, creating a hazard and inconvenience for other vehicles. This also limits snow storage for future storms, which can compromise roadway safety during exceptionally snowy winters.
The City ordinance prohibits vehicles from parking on City streets during snow removal operations. Vehicles left on the street may be ticketed and towed, which can cost you $45 for the ticket and over $200 for each calendar day the vehicle is in the tow lot. If certain vehicles are repeatedly ticketed, fees may increase.
Road salt, or chlorides, are a known pollutant that can permanently impact our waterbodies, leading to decreased freshwater fish populations and salty-tasting drinking water. The City is committed to decreasing the amount of chlorides applied to our roads, while still maintain safe driving conditions.
Last year, the City received a grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization to purchase brine application systems for some of our plow trucks. The brine application systems allow the City to use “pre-wetted” salt, which works faster than dry salt and doesn’t bounce outside of the application zone, allowing the City to use less salt more effectively. Over the next few years, the rest of our fleet will add this equipment and transition to the brine system as vehicles are scheduled for replacement.
The City also installed electronic application systems which will allows the drivers to better control how much salt is applied. It is expected that these improvements will allow the City to reduce salt use by at least 30 percent. Our snow plow drivers are Level 1 Smart-Salting certified by the MPCA and our department is Level 2 Smart-Salting certified.
You, too, can make a difference in reducing chlorides in our water bodies by doing your part to minimize salt usage or using salt substitutes. Tips are available by visiting FridleyMN.gov/Stormwater.