Snow piles slowly disappearing
City trucks piled high with mounds of snow have been prevalent the past several weeks traveling West Fargo streets on a mission to clear up some of the excessive piles that have been stacked high in the middle of several cul-de-sacs as the direct result of street clean-up.
Manning the ongoing efforts are members of the street and sewer and water departments, who are hauling the snow away to several larger snow storage sites that are selected based on location, size, current use and accessibility upon approval of the landowners and permitted by the North Dakota Department of Health.
Among this year’s favored drop spots are a farm field by the Red River Valley Fairgrounds; vacant lots behind Menards and in Eagle Run; and the Public Works Facility on 12th Avenue, as well as a few backup lots scattered around town in the event the others fill up.
Public Works Foreman Chad Zander has been overseeing the management and administration of the snow storage sites for the city. As with any major storm, he said it is the goal of crews to always plow and get roads open before they start hauling snow. Consequently, crews have been kept busy hauling since the last storm and will continue to do so for another week or two depending upon the weather and melting.
“We try to get as much done in a day’s time as possible, but how much is hauled out hinges on how many workers are available and how much equipment is used,” he stated. “We were doing 24-hour shifts after the storm for a few days until everything got cleared and widened, then we went back to regular hours. As a rule, the cul-de-sacs are hauled during normal hours after the storms.”
No actual count of the amount of snow removed is available but Zander said “a typical truck can haul ten cubic yards in its box. Sometimes we use the large snow blowers to widen streets and some of that gets hauled away as well adding to the load.”
An estimated expense for winter snow removal is allocated for in the yearly department budget so this hauling of snow falls under that area as a regular part of the process. The only extra money expended would be for overtime hours accumulated.
Zander said that so far the process has been running smoothly and going well. “If the temperatures warms up, it may slow us down as the ground starts to get soggy.”
He added that cooperation is always key from residents and businesses and that for the most part everyone is cognizant and respectful of the city’s role in the clean-up process.
“We always have a few residential properties that have sidewalks that don’t get cleared, but we try to stay on top of those. Some businesses can create problems by piling or hauling their snow on top of sidewalks or in property corners, affecting line of sight.”
In the meantime, the piles in the middle of cul-de-sacs are disappearing while the piles at the storage sites continue to grow.
As the weather warms up, the melting process will also speed up and soon the piles will be totally diminished as they slowly fade providing nourishment to the landscape.
Zander said that once the entire snow melting season ends, the city does maintenance on any of the lots requiring restoration work so they are left just as they are found.