SF Snow Gates Vote Set For April, 2014
April 02, 2013 9:49 PM
The decision to provide enough snow gates to plow the entire city of Sioux Falls is being delayed another year.
Snow gates ultimately protect your driveway by trapping the snow, driving past the area, and releasing the snow somewhere else, but despite the hold up, city crews have been working together to provide an in depth analysis about the pros and cons of snow gates.
The city council previously approved snow gates to be on the 2014 ballot, meaning the decision now depends on the public's vote on whether to purchase 33 more snow gates in the city.
"My team has performed as good as I knew they would," said Huber.
Street Fleet Manager Galynn Huber said his team has been testing snow gates for the last three years.
Despite the mild winters, there have been 10 snow alerts from 2010 to now, where snow gates have hit the streets.
"We use two inches as our bench mark to start taking a look at for us to call a snow alert," said Huber.
Once a snow alert is called, the snow gates plow every residential street in the city.
Throughout these tests, snow gate opportunities and risks have been determined.
"Do reduce the amount of snow in driveways. They also reduce the amount of snow as we plow through an intersection," said Cotter.
With every test, Public Works Director Mark Cotter, said there are risks, such as snow gate breakdowns and taking more time to plow the city.
"With snow gates our estimates are 26-34 hours, which is about a 2-4 increase in time to plow all 73 square miles of the city," said Cotter.
"Snow gates I think are truly a quality of life investment," said Huether.
If it were up to Mayor Mike Huether, he wants to move forward with citywide snow gates now, but according to legal reasons, city leaders can't take any further action that could alter or preempt a pending ballot issue.
"The horse is out of the barn and we can't get him back in, because of that the voters will decide whether to move forward or not with snow gates on April 8th, 2014," said Huether.
In the meantime, city leaders can continue to test the snow gates during snow emergencies, learn about snow gates and educate the public prior to a vote in April of 2014.
According to the finance department, purchasing 33 more snow gates would have a one-time cost of $198,000.00, which doesn't include annual plowing costs such as fuel, labor and equipment costs.