Snow & Ice Control Policy

I. Purpose

The purpose of this Snow and Ice Control Policy is to establish and maintain uniform procedures concerning snow and ice operations for the City of Big Lake. The City shall provide such control in a safe and cost effective manner while keeping safety, budget, personnel, and environmental concerns in mind. The City shall use its employees, equipment, and / or private contractors to provide this service. It is in the City's best interest to have a snow and ice control policy, but because of variable weather conditions, the policy must remain flexible.

II. Policy

Operations will continue until all City streets are passable. However, the City does not guarantee bare, dry pavement conditions after each snowfall or that streets will be totally free of ice and snow or driving hazards common to Minnesota winter weather.

III. Procedures

  1. The Public Works Director or designee shall be responsible for enforcing and implementing this policy.
  2. The Public Works Director, or designee, will decide when to begin snow and ice control operations. The criteria for that decision shall be based upon:
    1. Snow accumulation of two inches or more.
    2. Drifting of snow that impairs travel.
    3.  Icy conditions which seriously hinders travel.
    4. Time of snowfall in relationship to heavy traffic use of streets.
    5. Time of snowfall in relationship to its melting off the streets.

      Snow and ice control operations are expensive and involve the use of limited personnel and equipment. Consequently, snowplowing operations will not generally be conducted for snow accumulations of less than two inches.
  3. Snow will be plowed in a manner so as to minimize any traffic obstructions. Snow will be plowed so the discharge is directed onto the boulevard area of the street. In times of extreme snowfall, streets will not always be immediately and completely cleared of snow.
  4. Where space does not allow for snow to be piled in the boulevard, the City may remove the snow by truck from a given area. Such snow removal operations will not commence until other snow removal operations and City duties have been completed.
  5. The Public Works Director or designee shall establish a snowplowing route as seen fit under certain conditions. In times of extreme snowfall, high traffic volume streets which connect major sections of the City and provide access for emergency fire, police, and medical services, will be plowed first.

    Second priority streets are those streets providing access to schools, commercial businesses, and residential streets.

    Third priority streets are alleys, parking lots, and cul-de-sacs.

    Priority ranking may be interrupted in order to respond to emergency requests for assistance or at the direction of the Public Works Director or designee.
  6. Snow and ice control operations shall be conducted only when weather conditions do not endanger the safety of City employees and equipment. Factors that may delay snow and ice control operations include, but are not limited to, severe cold temperature, significant wind speed, limited visibility, and rapid accumulation of snow and / or ice.
  7. Sand, salt, and other chemicals may be used where hazardous icy or slippery conditions exist. Sand, salt, or other chemicals may be placed at intersections, hills, crosswalks, curves, and required vehicle stop areas as necessary for driving safety. This provides for traction, but is not intended to provide bare pavement during winter driving conditions.

    The City of Big Lake is concerned with the effect of such chemicals on the environment and will limit use of such chemicals. This policy does not require the City to use chemicals on City streets.

IV. Damage to Property

Snow and ice operations can cause property damage even under the best circumstances and care on the part of the operators. The intent of the right-of-way is to provide room for snow storage, utilities, boulevard trees, sidewalks, and other City uses.

  1. Mailboxes
    If a mailbox that complies with the Big Lake City Code Section 1020.08 Minnesota Statutes Section 169.072, Minnesota Rules Chapter 8818, and United States Postal Service specifications is damaged as a result of direct contact by City snow removal equipment and the property owner promptly reports the damage to the Public Works Director the City will replace the mailbox with a standard size, non-decorative metal mailbox and replace the support post as necessary with a four foot by four foot, decay resistance wood support post, both installed by the City. Alternatively the City will reimburse the mailbox owner in an amount not to exceed $200 for the replacement of the mailbox and post by others. The City will not repair or reimburse for damage to media or newspaper boxes. Final cleaning adjacent to mailboxes is the responsibility of the owner.
  2. Landscaping
    Only those items which are installed properly and allowed by City Ordinance to be adjacent to boulevards and damaged by actual contact with City equipment will be considered for repair or replacement at City expense. Damage to trees, fences, shrubbery, sprinkler heads, and other landscaping in the City's right-of-way will not be considered for compensation. Lawns that are scraped or gouged by City snow and ice operations will be repaired by top dressing and seeding in the following spring.

V. Resident Responsibility

Under Big Lake City Code Section 500.04 residents are responsible for removing snow and ice from public sidewalks abutting their property.

Residents are also responsible for clearing their driveway. Snow plowing on the street can cause additional snow to be deposited in driveway approaches and around roadside obstacles, so residents are responsible for clearing their driveways after their street has been plowed.