Snowplowing and Ice Control Policy/Procedures


1. Introduction

The City of East Gull Lake, Minnesota, finds that it is in the best interest of the residents of the city to assume basic responsibility for control of snow and ice on city streets. Reasonable ice and snow control is necessary for routine travel and emergency services. The city will attempt to provide such control in a safe and cost effective manner, keeping in mind safety, budget, personnel, and environmental concerns. The city will use private contractors to provide this service. The City does not have “bare road” policy.

This policy does not relieve the operator of private vehicles, pedestrians, property owners, residents and all others that may be using public streets, of their responsibility to act in a reasonable, prudent and cautious manner, given the prevailing street conditions.

2. When Will the City Start Snow or Ice Control Operations?

Typically snow removal will not begin until a snowfall event has stopped.  The Contractor will decide when to begin snow or ice control operations. The criteria for that decision are:

A. The snowfall has stopped.  The contractor will have some discretion in early spring and late fall.

B. Drifting of snow that causes problems for travel.

C. Icy conditions which seriously affect travel.

D. Time of snowfall in relationship to heavy use of streets and snow accumulation of three (3) inches or more.

Snow and ice control operations are expensive and involve the use of limited personnel and equipment. Consequently snowplowing operations will not generally be conducted until the snowfall has stopped.

3. How Snow will be Plowed

Snow and ice control consists of three steps:

  1. Snow plowing will start in the Southwest side of town and go counter clockwise through the town.  Minimal spot sanding will be done at this time.
  2. The following day they will do additional winging and sanding as necessary.
  3. Periodically a road grader will be used to remove compacted snow, weather permitting.

Typically the first step can be completed in 4-6 hours.  Unforeseeable circumstances may cause delays in completing assigned plow routes. Such circumstances may include weather conditions that endanger the safety of snowplow operators and/or safe and effective operation of equipment, commuter traffic, disabled vehicles, poor visibility conditions, parked cars along streets, assistance to emergency response vehicles, equipment breakdown, and personnel shortages.

4.  Documentation

The contractor will have every driver complete a check sheet at the end of each shift.  The check sheet will indicate the start time, end time, what road and the action done on that road.  These check sheets will be submitted will the bill to the City.

5. Traffic Regulations

The city recognizes that snowplow operators are exempt from traffic regulations set forth in Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 169 while actually engaged in work on streets, except for regulations related to driving while impaired and the safety of school children. Pursuant to this authority, snowplow operators engaged in snow removal or ice control on city streets have discretion to disregard traffic laws set forth in Chapter 169, except for laws relating to impaired driving and school children safety, when in their judgment, it is safe to disregard such laws. The privileges granted herein to operators of snow removal and ice control vehicles shall apply only if the vehicle is equipped with one lighted lamp displaying a flashing, oscillating, or rotating amber light placed in such a position on the vehicle as to be visible throughout an arc of 360 degrees.

6. Weather Conditions

Snow and ice control operations will be conducted only when weather conditions do not endanger the safety of snowplow operators and equipment. Factors that may delay snow and ice control operations include: severe cold, significant winds, and limited visibility.

7. Mailboxes

Damage to a mailbox is a risk that snowplow operators face during their winter plowing requirements. The city will conduct a review of each mailbox damage claim to determine, whether the city has any legal responsibility for the damage and if so, to replace or provide reimbursement for the mailbox. All mailbox damage claims will be denied if the mail box support does not meet standard dated June 27, 1977.  Supports that meet this standard can be purchased from the City.  If the city, in its discretion, determines that reimbursement or replacement is appropriate, the city may:

1)      At the mailbox owner’s request, replace the mailbox with a standard size, non-decorative 

metal mailbox and replace the support with a metal swing-a-way.  Both would be installed by the City or the Contractor.  A temporary support would be installed until the permanent one could be installed.

2) Provide reimbursement in a reasonable amount for the mailbox and support posts that meet the city’s ordinance standards, as well as state and federal requirements for mailbox size, support and placement.

8. City Hall

City Hall will be done by the City personnel.  They will follow the same criteria when to plow.  At City Hall the initial plowing will be done by 8:00 a.m.  This includes the area around the recycling bins and the sidewalks.

9. Street Sweeping

At the end of the snow plowing season the streets will be swept.  The sand left behind from ice control will be swept off to the side into the ditch with a power broom.  Typically this will happen around May 1st.  Homeowners that maintain their yards all the way to road may want to sweep this up themselves before then to eliminate this debris getting into their ditch.

10. Complaint Procedure

Complaints with the policy will be review by the road committee.  Complaint about the workmanship will forward to the contractor.  Emergency complaints will be handled in an expeditious manner as resources are available.

11. Review and Modification of Policy

The Road Committee will review the policy annual with the snow plowing contractor.  Any review will consider comments and complaints since the last review and any other factors affecting the policy or its implementation.