Cities struggle to find places to put snow

COON RAPIDS, Minn. - As city crews clear snow from the roads, they're finding the only place to put all of it is up.

As a result, the snow piles along the curbs are getting higher and higher.

In Coon Rapids, that means they also have to dig out the sidewalks. The cold has made it a tough winter for Coon Rapids Public Works employees who clear the streets and sidewalks. Very little of the snow has had a chance to melt and there hasn't been enough of a break between snowfalls to haul much of it away, so they simply have to pile the snow higher.

Mark Star plows the sidewalks in Coon Rapids.

"It's been so much snow. It's been heavy. It's been packed in," he said.

After the street plows come through and throw snow onto the sidewalks, Star said it takes four people another two days to completely plow out 110 miles of sidewalk in the city. It's not getting easier because he said the snow we have now is the snow we've had all winter. Yet the work he does is so important because pedestrians need a safe place to walk.

Niles Nearhoof, a heavy equipment operator for the city of Coon Rapids has plowed the city roads for decades. He said he's never seen a winter this cold for this long.

"It's not an unusual amount of snow for a Minnesota winter, but the cold has been a big factor," said Nearhoof.

He said when they get a chance, the plow operators haul snow to an area behind the city's public works facility, but they haven't had many chances.

He wants residents to know that a big problem for him, when plowing roads, is garbage cans. When setting them out, he asks to please put them behind the curb so the plows don't have to go around them. Otherwise they may not plow close enough to the curb and your mailboxes and that might mean more shoveling for you.

He also said help out firefighters and make sure to remove the snow from around fire hydrants in your neighborhood.


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