As the region braces for yet another winter storm, many Devils Lake residents are wondering why their neighborhoods still haven't been cleaned a week after the last storm.
As the region braces for yet another winter storm, many Devils Lake residents are wondering why their neighborhoods still haven’t been cleaned a week after the last storm.
Though crews have been working to clear streets around town, some roadways, such as 6th Ave. from 10th St. to 7th St., are still reduced to one lane as the city tries to manage equipment issues, among other challenges.
It was reported at the last City Commission meeting of 2016 that one of the city’s bulldozers was put out of commission after striking a raised manhole cover. That, coupled with another storm that piled snow around the region, has made snow removal a daunting task.
Another issue that many residents have a problem with is a recently introduced $50 fine for pushing snow from private property onto city streets.
While Ways and Means supervisor Myron Asleson largely pointed the finger at contractors and downtown businesses that have been piling snow into roadways, many residents claim that the city itself is responsible for pushing snow from roadways into driveways.
“Maybe if (the city) stopped piling all the snow into people's driveways, they wouldn't park in the street,” one resident complained.
Asleson said in a past interview that the reason for the fine is to discourage residents from pushing snow in front of neighbors’ property, including driveways and mailboxes.
“It is a problem,” Asleson said in December. “We just ask people to do what’s right, and pushing snow out into the street so it goes in front of your neighbor’s, that’s not right. A pickup plows will plow two or three houses in front of their place and push the snow into these huge piles in residential areas, and there it sits. Then that homeowner is calling the city, (but) we didn’t put it there.”
However, some residents aren’t convinced that the city is doing everything it can to plow neighborhoods and treat roadways.
“We need our street plowed,” one resident said. “They didn’t do it the first round of snow. Makes it difficult to get out and to work everyday.”
Another concern is the quality of streets citywide, which have remained covered in a layer of ice, making for a rough and slippery ride. Some areas have been treated with sand, but the majority of city roadways remain under a layer of uneven ice.
“Who is responsible for the intersections in town such as the junction of 20 and 2?” a resident asked. “I would think intersections like those would be of utmost concern to make sure traffic flows safely. I know it takes time. Just curious!”
It all adds up to a big headache for both unhappy city residents and city workers who continue their effort to dig out of the snow left by the two storms, with another storm in the forecast.
At last Monday’s City Commission meeting, Asleson predicted that the city would have the first round of snow removal completed by the time the next storm is predicted to hit the region.
"We're plugging along," Asleson said. "I think we've got about half the town done. If there were no piles downtown, we would have had it cleaned.”