The DOT’s Pete Hjelmstad says if people cooperate, everyone will be better off.
“We need that area to put the snow from the roadway and if there’s snow from everywhere else, we don’t have room to put it there,” Hjelmstad says. The rules apply for residential neighborhoods as well as for anyone who owns a business with a parking lot that needs to be cleared.
“This mainly happens with people with big parking lots,” he says. “If they push it into the right-of-way and those big piles freeze, we do come by and wing back the snow so we have room to put snow after the next snowfall. Those big frozen piles can literally break the wing blade right off the plows.”
So far, this winter has seen lighter-than-usual snowfalls, with a few exceptions, but he reminds, that doesn’t mean the DOT crews aren’t busy.
“There are times even if you don’t see a flake of snow falling from the sky, but if we’ve got snow blowing over the roads and it’s getting trapped between the wheels of traffic and the roadways, it can get slick,” Hjelmstad says. “We’re out doing winter maintenance, putting down de-icing material then, too. It’s not just when it’s snowing we’re out.”
Iowans can keep track of where snowplows are running and see snowplow webcams by heading to the DOT’s website at iowadot.gov.
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City