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City Continues To Test Snow Gates



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For the past two years, the city of Sioux Falls has been testing snow gates in three Sioux Falls neighborhoods; but this year, the city has decided to test a total of six neighborhoods.

The same areas tested last year have been expanded, and will be tested again this year. However, new areas include the streets between 26th and 32nd from Sertoma to Marion and also the streets between 57th and 69th from Highway 111 to Interstate 29.

Some of the expanded areas include the streets between Western and Minnesota from 10th Street south toward 33rd, streets between 12th and 26th from Cleveland to Powder House Road, and also a neighborhood between Bahnson Avenue and Harmodon Park.

According to city officials, the decision to expand and continue the tests was rather simple.

“As your mayor, I have the responsibility to all of you, to do this right,” says Mayor Mike Huether.

For the past couple of years, that’s been the ultimate goal—to thoroughly evaluate the costs and efficiency of snow gates that are intended to make snow removal a little easier on all of us.

But after two years of testing, there are still unanswered questions.  

“Do they indeed work? How much do they cost? Is there an impact on quality and safety,” asks Huether.

Since last winter didn’t bring us nearly as much snowfall as we would typically, city officials decided that last year’s data was insufficient; so this year, they decided to double up.

“Just with only getting about 16 inches of snow when we normally get 45, we just didn’t harness that much data. That’s why we went to the mayor and said we really think it’s important to test these things again,” says Director of Public Works, Mark Cotter.

Officials say that even though the data obtained so far are in favor of the snow gates, they believe extending the test period and increasing the sample size will make them more confident in making the next step.

But no matter how much snow Mother Nature brings to the Sioux Empire over the next few months; the testing will be complete at the end of the season.

“My commitment to the people of Sioux Falls is that we will make a solid recommendation in March,” says Huether.

And that’s a recommendation that may eventually lead to less snow shoveling for all of Sioux Falls by next winter.

In addition to the three years of testing, city officials are also turning to other cities that already have snow gates, like Bismarck and Minot, North Dakota.
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