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Bloomington Briefing

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Public Works Department

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At your service: The heroes of winter

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Bloomington Briefing Published January 4, 2022
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Updated on January 4, 2022
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Snowplow drivers are the unsung heroes of winter. On a frigid winter morning before you’ve even made coffee, Equipment Operator Chad Stanton, pictured above, and his coworkers have already been up for hours, plowing and salting streets, so you can drive safely on the roads.

Driving a snowplow isn’t easy, but Stanton said “we have an important job. Our top priority is to make sure that school buses and emergency vehicles can travel safely on the roads.” 

Bloomington averages about 50 inches of snow per year, and plows about 25 times per winter season. Equipped with nearly 70 snowplow trucks on its fleet, the Public Works maintenance division clears snow from 2,016 lane-miles of road, 260 miles of sidewalks, 512 cul-de-sacs and 33 ice rinks in the city. 

On the job for more than six years, Stanton enjoys the variety of tasks to keep the streets clean. 

“In the wintertime, it might be anti-icing or snowplowing. It just all depends on the type of winter event,” Stanton said.

When it comes to snowplowing, several factors are considered, including the time the snow began, duration of snowfall, type of snow (light/dry or wet/heavy), temperature before and after snowfall, and snow accumulation. 

“The biggest thing about snowplowing the streets is safety,” Stanton said. “Safety for people driving, people shoveling their driveways and for us.”

Snowplow trucks need space. If you see a snowplow truck, back away. Don’t follow closely behind a snowplow truck. 

“I see it all the time when people are too close,” Stanton said. “These trucks don’t stop like a regular vehicle. It takes a little bit more time and distance for it to come to a stop, especially on an icy road.”

The amount of snow determines how long plowing takes to complete. For example, plowing a four-inch snowfall can take eight to ten hours. For snow removal and snow emergency information, call the Snow Emergency Hotline at 952-563-8768 or visit blm.mn/snow.