Snow Gates Struggle During Snow Alert In Sioux Falls

Some Residents Couldn't Tell If Snow Gates Were Even Used

With 65 motor graders and 48 truck sanders, it takes about 30 hours to plow the 75 square miles within the city of sioux falls. City officials say it takes even longer with the use of snow gates, especially with this much snow.

Warren Olson likes the idea of snow gates on city plows. He says they keep snow from building up at the end of his driveway. But on Tuesday, after the plows came through, he couldn’t tell whether or not they were even used.

Olson said, “I didn’t see that this morning, I was blocked in pretty good.”

Katherine Peterson says the same could be said for hers.

“There’s certainly a pile at the edge to go through, quite a ridge,” said Peterson.

This is only the second time snow gates have been used city wide. With five to six inches of snow on the ground, this time it was almost too much for them to handle.

Director of Public Works Mark Cotter said, “If we would have gotten two, potentially three more inches of snow this snow event, we probably would have been making the close evaluation if the snow gates would have been used in this event.”

They say when this much snow falls, it starts to spill over and around the gates. City Streets Manager Gaylynn Huber says he witnessed some of the problems himself.

Huber said, “When they dropped the gate, it actually left about two foot in the driveway but the gate went down, that’s how much snow it was carrying in the mow board.”

They’re also seeing the streets start to narrow because of how slow they have had to go. While some snow was left in resident’s driveways, Peterson says it would have been much worse if they didn’t use them at all.

“I noticed that the ridge on either side of our driveway is a little higher than it is in the driveway,” said Peterson. “I have a lot less of a ridge to shovel through this morning than I have in the past with significant amounts of snow.”

While snow gates have presented problems, city officials say getting people to move their cars is still their biggest one.

The city only uses snow gates when a snow alert has been issued. They don’t use them on streets with three or more lanes.  

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