Plowed In? Month of Snow Removal Operations to Begin in Duluth this Week

Updated: 02/24/2014 9:14 PM
Created: 02/24/2014 10:00 PM

With every new flake of snow, streets shrink a little bit more. Three days after the last snowfall, nearly 40 graders and plows were on Duluth roads Monday, still trying to make them safe again.

While the city says "be patient," efforts to clear snow are prompting frustration among people blowing and shoveling it from their driveways.

Duluth's April Benes, like most other people around the Northland, has been dealing with it for days.

"Of course, I couldn't pull in the driveway so I start to shovel and the grader comes by and fills it back up again," Benes said. "Pretty much ever other day if not every day. Every time it snows, every time they come through here."

Inside that grader is Heavy Equipment Operator Tim Lowney. Referring to Benes, he said "there's a lady right up here shoveling now and I'm not done yet."

"I'm sorry. It's frustrating for them. It's frustrating for us but you've got to open the streets up," Lowney said.

He knows she is upset, and she knows there is nothing he can do differently. "He probably doesn't have a choice of where to put it," Benes said.

Unfortunately, many other people don't understand that. In the western part of Duluth, maintenance operations staff told Eyewitness News that they've received about 70 calls since last week's snow with complaints about things like snowbanks blocking the ends of driveways. They said someone even tried to chase down a grader in their car.

But before you take out your frustrations on the plow drivers, think about this: "If we can't get through, fire and ambulance can't get through," Lowney said.

Snow could be blocking their way, but many times it is your car. A Voyageur bus got stuck on 18th Avenue East Monday after a car failed to follow the alternate side parking ordinance.

Tickets for breaking that ordinance will cost you about $20, but Duluth Police Sergeant Ryan Morris said you'll also want to watch out for the 24-hour parking ordinance. Break it and it could set you back $20 more. "You're supposed to move your car every 24 hours. It can't sit in the same spot for more than 24 hours."

Morris said as of midnight Saturday to 4 p.m. Monday authorities responded to 57 parking-related calls, and towed 13 vehicles.

Expect more signs warning of tickets and towing if you fail to move your cars. Maintenance Operations Manager Kelly Fleissner said crews will start blowing snow from the streets and trucking it away later this week. He expects work to last about a month.

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