Streets and park maintenance staff continue to dig out from the 12-plus inches of snow we had this week. According to the National Weather Service, Elk River has received over 30 inches of snow over the past three weeks between the three major storm events. To put this into perspective, the average annual snowfall for the Elk River area is 45 inches. As a result of the volume of snow and the multi-day duration of each of these snow events the crews have been unable to get to our routine hauling of snow. By the end of today all of our roads and cul-de-sacs will be plowed out from the most recent event, though in most areas roads are becoming narrow and cul-de-sacs are running out of storage space. Additionally, due to the height of the snow banks along the roadways, the snow does not leave our plow blades and dissipates evenly along the entire roadway. As a result the 'relief' point unfortunately becomes the driveway locations. We are not intentionally trying to load up these areas it's just what happens during these large amounts. For trails and sidewalks, the volume of snow that has fallen compounded by the snow coming off the streets and onto these assets has largely made them impassible.
It will likely take us 2-3 weeks of consistent snow hauling to get all assets fully open with adequate storage space for future snow events. With that, we have established priorities of work to begin removing snow from the system. Over the next 2-3 work days priorities will be hauling snow from road shoulders in and around schools (Jackson Ave, School Street, Handke School), the 197th Ave Bridge, and the construction work area on 193rd Ave and TH169. Park staff will focus efforts on clearing trails and sidewalks that serve as primary pedestrian routes around the schools (CSAH 1, Proctor to Meadowvale, Highland Road, Jackson Ave, School Street, Cleveland Ave). In addition, parks staff will work to clear the snow from the Handke Pit and get that sheet of ice back open for our users. Following these mission critical areas, streets staff will begin hauling snow from the downtown areas, liquor stores, library, and police and fire campuses and continue to haul snow off of road shoulders along our regular haul routes. Parks staff will continue to snow blow trails and sidewalks to first open them up and widen them for future snow storage.
This will be a slow process as snow blowers move much slower than our plowing equipment and all of this material must be transported to one of our three snow storage sites. Please be patient as we work our way through the system over the next couple of weeks.