Des Moines snow plows switch to residential streets

DES MOINES, Iowa-  The heavy snow-fall in Des Moines between Tuesday night and this morning is keeping snow plow crews very busy.  

The City's Public Works Department says because of continuing snow fall last night into the early morning hours, they had to focus on the main, snow routes until about 10:30 this morning, and when those streets were clear,  crews then switched to the residential streets.    Crews will, however, revisit the snow routes at some point to do additional clean-up.

Des Moines Public Works Director Jonathan Gano tells WHO Radio News they expect to get all the streets cleared by around 7 o'clock tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

Des Moines has 22-hundred miles of streets, 750 of those are snow routes.  Gano says the residential streets are a challenge because of the curves, requiring drivers to operate the trucks at a slower speed, so it takes a while.   Gano says the system is designed so that every house is within four blocks of a snow route.

He says they divide the city into 120 different residential districts, crews can work 40 of them at a time, then switch to different neighborhoods.

He says more than 200 people from five departments are helping in the effort. 

He reminds residents to obey the snow ordinance rules, those who don't are subject to a fine or having their vehicle towed.  He says they'd prefer vehicles be removed, so the plow operator can clear away as much snow as possible the first time, rather than either leaving it or trying to come back again.

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