Why Is There Still Snow On St. Michael, Albertville and State Roads?

MnDOT continues to clear roads, and the majority of metro Roads Remain in 'Difficult Driving' condition. Some are frustrated, others say it takes time to remove that much snow.


Five days after the storm, Minnesota Department of Transportation plows are still clearing snow off roads and highways five days after a blizzard dumped as much as 26 inches of snow in some parts of the state.

The St. Michael-Albertville area got more than a foot of snow totals Sunday when a blizzard hit the area. Residents shared photos of their view outside their home during the storm. The Twin Cities metro area got up to 19 inches of snow.

STMA roads were declared having the worst driving conditions in the metro during the Monday morning rush hour.

How do you think the roads are faring now? Tell us in the comments!

But this snowfall brought frustrations with the slow pace of cleanup — day after day, snow and ice were still plastered to roads.

"In the metro, the majority of metro area roads remain in difficult driving condition, despite crews working around the clock since Friday evening," said a statement released by MnDot Thursday.

According to a Kare 11 report, Gov. Mark Dayton says the slower pace of the cleanup is attributed to budget cuts and staff reductions. Newly appointed and future MnDot Commissioner Charlie Zelle says those who clear snow have long, difficult shifts, and that it's a challenge to respond quickly in large winter storms.

St. Michael City Council member Chris Schumm said St. Michael has more than 120 miles of roadway to plow.

"Our Public Works Department has been working very hard over the last week to get the streets cleaned up," he said. "They will be getting ready for the snow and ice storm this weekend! Lots of community's did not plow until the end of the storm, our streets were drivable throughout the weekend."

Several comments sparked discussion on snow removal on St. Michael Patch's Facebook page:

  • The Colonial Mall was horrible! Wednesday there was so much snow still I was afraid I was going to get stuck!
  • Well, if you have 13" to 15" of Snow in 24 hours it will take some time. I remember back when the Halloween storm hit, we were snowed in for 3 days straight, I never even seen a plow!
  • I agree, the amount of deep slop left on the side streets is ridiculous, and dangerous. I was ready to call an complain yesterday but then I finally passed a plow on the way home.
  • We have now had a minimum of three decent days that have been available to clean the streets, there is no good reason for them to be in this bad of shape.
  • Much longer than normal!
  • My neighborhood is good they must have came back yesterday when it was warm enough to move some of the packed snow.
  • The initial clean up was great. It was amazing. Kudos to our drivers. However, there did seem to be some lag with the slop on the side streets as some of the snow pack melted. I figured that was because the crew had worked their butts off through out the initial storm and were resting a bit. I've got not problem with that. The extra slop was just a minor nuisance.

    Colonial Mall is a private parking lot and not plowed by the city.

    From what I have been told as I didn't live here at the time, the reason for the problems with the Halloween snow is the weather forecasters blew the forecast badly and the cities didn't have the plows on the trucks yet.
  • I think 48 hours should be more than enough time. It would be nice if they went back around and cleaned up the sloppy slush now.
  • SA and McDonalds is HORRIBLE
  • Just wish they would stop blocking up my driveway!!!
  • Otherwise my street is fine. It's a long process. The city isn't as small as it once was.
  • I've done dispatching for snow removal and not only while its snowing they are out, but then there's the aftermath for several days especially when it was frozen, then melting. With our 13", I'd say this is normal.
  • With the warm weather I thought the city plows could have done the side street earlier in the week, as now it's gotten colder I have a pile of frozen slushy snow at the end of my driveway I can't shovel out. It was a massive amount of snow so I do give them some slack, it just a pain... The private companies, like the mall, McDonalds, SA they hire private companies to plow, so complain in the stores not to the city as they have no control over that. As far as time I think 48-72 hours after the storm is far enough time to get the side streets cleaned up.
  • I should reiterate, the main streets are great and I was pleased with how quickly they were cleared. It's the side streets and entrances into parking lots of businesses are really bad. Maybe that's the businesses responsibility?
  •  I actually commented to my husband that the side streets next to our house (in St. Michael) are great compared to those a few streets over in Albertville. The main roads have been good this time as well. We got a lot of snow in a 24 hour period. I like that the plows have been coming by and cleaning up the slop in the last couple of days too.
  • Try going to the cities during a storm....or even a few days afterwards. I think then you would appreciate how good we have it here in Saint Michael. Were everyone's driveways and mailbox areas completely clean during the whole storm & right away afterwards?? Most likely not.
  • Your life is pretty good if your biggest complaint is snow removal
  • As soon as there is enough snow for there to be an issue on the roads, they should have ALREADY began plowing. It is amazing that on side streets in Minneapolis, people are STILL getting stuck at night.

MnDot says plows are focusing on the southern half of the state, making cleanup a priority for shoulders, ramps and bridges "where compacted snow is making surfaces dangerous and slippery."

"Chemicals for de-icing do not work well in the cold temperatures that Minnesota is experiencing," the MnDot statement said. "Motorists are encouraged to drive slowly as there is still compacted snow on roads, conditions which will continue until temperatures warm up and chemicals start to work again."

MnDot reminds drivers to watch for plows, "stay back, stay alert, and stay alive."

The department of transportation statistics show how much snow removal the organization is responsible for:

  • MnDOT plows about 12,000 miles of state highways and interstates in Minnesota, which equals about 31,000 lane miles. (One mile of a four-lane road equals four lane miles.) The Twin Cities Metro Area has 5,000 lane miles that MnDOT maintains.
  • MnDOT has approximately 1,400 full-time snowplow drivers and 250 backup drivers. All operators are required to have a valid Class B commercial driver’s license. MnDOT also provides extensive two-week training for new operators each year at Camp Ripley, Minn., and ongoing training for veteran plow drivers.
  • MnDOT has about 800 snowplows, including reserve trucks that provide backup in case a snowplow needs maintenance or is damaged.
  • MnDOT has 154 truck stations statewide, with 19 of those truck stations in the Twin Cities Metro Area.

Current road conditions can be found at MnDot's 511 traffic information page.

Lala Gabour December 14, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I think the title of this Story is horriable!!! I know for a fact that MnDOT is working there hardest to get these roads cleaned and in safe condition! You need to think about the plow drivers, and the behind the scenes mechanics that make the roads as safe as possible. You might as well flip them the finger with a headline like that! You can't expect them to be out cleaning 24 hours a day. These plow drivers and mechanics are pulling 12-20 hour shifts and you dare to put this crap out there. Maybe you should take a second and view it from the plow drivers and mechanics point of view who are missing out on there families to make sure the roads are as safe as they can for your family! Simply disgusted with that headline!
Liala Helal (Editor) December 14, 2012 at 06:18 PM
The headline was meant to express the frustration many people are showing. I agree it may have seemed one-sided/harsh — I thought about that since it was posted. I went ahead and decided to change it to portray more of what the article is meant to show: what work goes into clearing snow, and why/how it takes time to clear after a large snowfall. Thank you for the note!
kneeo December 14, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Over the past 8 years since I have lived in St. Michael, I have found that the streets have been cleared in a timely fashion compared to other suburbs. They do a great job here! Very Impressed.


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