Snow Removal Policy
With the start of each Minnesota snow season comes the concern about access to work, school and business. The safety and convenience of the traveling public is a main concern of the Lake County Highway Department. The goal of the Highway Department is to have all County Roads passable within a reasonable amount of time after a snowfall has stopped.
The county does not assure a completely bare road and will not sand entire sections of roadway. Users of the highway system are reminded to exercise caution and drive with care. The legal speed limit may not be possible at all times.
- Dispatching of Snowplows The County will usually not dispatch snowplows until after a snowfall has stopped. During extended periods of snowfall, exceptions may be made. Snow plows will not be sent out in situations that may be hazardous due to restricted visibility. If snowfall stops during regular working hours, plows may be dispatched at that time. If the snowfall stops during the night or early morning hours, plows will be dispatched between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Weekend plowing will be handled in a similar fashion.
- Operations Generally the clearing of roads will consist of three phases: Making the road passable; widening and sanding; and cleaning up. Dependent upon the situation, more than one phase may be accomplished at one time.
- Make the Road Passable – Clean one lane in each direction. Generally plow and wing are used.
- Widen the Lanes to Edge of Shoulders – Sanding is done at problem locations on paved roads including intersections, curves, hills and bridges. A 8-10% salt to sand mixture is used for regular sanding. More salt may be added to the mixture for problem areas. At temperatures below +20 degrees, salt use will be limited, as it becomes ineffective at lower temperatures.
- Clean Up – Remove ice and slush off roadway after salt and sun have been allowed to work.
- Personal Properties – Mailboxes damaged during snow removal will be evaluated case by case. Only those mailboxes that were properly located and installed, and which were damaged by actual contact with County equipment will be repaired at County expense.As snow is plowed from roadways, operators leave as little snow across driveways as possible. County removal of this windrow is infeasible and remains the property owner’s responsibility.County residents are reminded that it is unlawful to plow snow from driveways onto or across County roads. Piles of snow left on or near the road can freeze into a solid mass creating a hazardous situation for vehicles and snowplows. Accidents and damages caused by snow piles placed in the roadway may result in liability to the property owner. Piles of snow increase the chances of drifting snow onto the roadway.County residents are reminded to remove parked vehicles from County roads to assist in snow removal.The Highway Department may assist stranded motorists by contacting law enforcement/emergency personnel. The Highway Department will not attempt to remove stuck vehicles from ditches, snowbanks or any other impediment.
- Sidewalks – Sidewalks on County or County State Aid Highways within municipalities are the responsibility of the municipality, just as any other public utility. Policy of individual municipalities regarding sidewalk snow removal may vary between municipalities.
- Information – Questions or concerns regarding snow removal and/or road conditions should be directed to the County Highway Engineer at (218) 834-8380. Emergencies may be reported to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office at (218) 834-8385.
Pushing Snow Into The Road
According to the Lake County Highway Department, depositing snow in any fashion onto a County Road is illegal and punishable as a misdemeanor under Minnesota Statute 160.27 and various local ordinances which prohibit plowing, shoveling, blowing or placing snow onto public roadways.
Lake County Highway Department also cautions that the act of placing snow onto a public roadway can subject a person to a civil liability if a road hazard, such as a slippery area, frozen rut or bump, occurs and causes a traffic accident. This civil liability can extend to both the property owner and the person who actually placed the snow onto the driveway.
Lake County Highway Department asks all citizens to obey these rules which are designed to keep our share of Minnesota’s 131,100 miles of streets, roads and highways safe during winter months.
Emergency Snow Plowing
In order to not compete with private business, the Lake County Board of Commissioners has discontinued the Emergency Snowplowing Program. The Lake County Highway Department will no longer be providing emergency snowplowing services.