Had it up to here with snow; City Commission, Public Works discuss snow removal procedures

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 9:16 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Few things can rile up a neighborhood like the feeling of being trapped by snow. The Bismarck City Commission met Tuesday evening to discuss the strengths and areas to be improved in the Public Works efforts to remove the snow from the blizzard on November 10.

The blizzard on November 10 dumped up to 24 inches of snow on the streets of the capital city. Tuesday night, the department of Public Works gave a presentation to the City Commission to detail what they were up against and how they tackled a large snow event. The director of public works says they started plowing out residential neighborhoods at 4 a.m. Saturday, November 12.

”We continued in the residential areas until they were complete, which was until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15. So, it took us 84 hours working around the clock just to clean the residential streets,” said Steve Salwei, Bismarck Public Works director of operations.

He added that due to a competitive job market, their department has four open positions and there are 12 employees who have been on the job for 18 months or less. A few community members attended the meeting to share what they experienced and what they believed could be improved. At the end of the meeting, one person said they felt like 90% of their frustrations were addressed.

”I think it was informative, and I think Mr. Calloway and the other fellows that work in that department of snow removal explained their issues, but that still doesn’t get the snow off my driveway,” said Lyn Straight, a Bismarck resident.

The Department of Public Works said their biggest challenges are the growing residential neighborhoods, and the widening of major arteries, like 43rd Avenue, which now requires more machinery. The City Commission applauded the work of the Public Works department while agreeing there are areas, like communication and being more competitive in hiring, where they can improve.