Snow removal system works for Vermillion

Snow removal system works for Vermillion South Dakota is known for its unpredictable weather. With an average snowfall of 35 inches during the fall, spring and winter months, daily activities, whether special or routine, can be changed at a moment's notice when severe weather strikes.

But when snow falls in Vermillion, the plan is always the same.

With 42 miles of streets to clean, the City of Vermillion takes a serious approach to the problems related to snow and ice removal. City crews with snow removal equipment are ready as soon as snow is forecast.

The city has two motorgraders, two one-way plows, two wheel loaders, one sander, four dump trucks, and a trained operation crew to keep Vermillion's streets passable.

The city's priority in removing snow is:

First priority:

Emergency snow routes

Emergency snow routes are kept clean for police, fire and ambulance vehicles in case of emergency travel during snowstorms. After two inches of snow has fallen, city plows begin to clear snow routes for such travel. They are kept clear until the snow ends.

Priority emergency routes in Vermillion are Stanford, High, Dakota, University, Plum (between Main and Cherry), Crawford Road (from Crestview to Cherry), Cherry and Main (with the exception of the downtown business district).

Any vehicle parked on a snow route after two inches has fallen will be ticketed and towed.

If snow continues to fall after the first clearing and cars begin to park along the snow route, they will also be ticketed and towed before the second plowing is done and so on. Snow routes are to be kept clear of vehicles until snow stops falling and the final clearing is completed. All vehicles are towed at the owner's expense.

Second priority:

No parking 2 to 6 a.m.

These streets are cleared between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m. Any vehicles parked on the street at that time will be towed at the owner's expense.

The second priority streets include Ratingen, Plum (north of Cherry), National and Clark.

The downtown area is also a no parking zone from 2 to 6 a.m. For snow removal in the downtown area, city crews windrow snow to the center of the street. Merchants push the snow from in front of their businesses into the street. City crews then move the sidewalk snow to the center windrow as well and then remove the center windrow strips.

Third priority:

Residential streets

and alleys

In residential areas, snow removal is conducted by a two-plow system. First, city motorgraders plow the center of the street. A one-way plow follows behind the motorgrader and plows the remaining snow to the curb line. Both plows turn around at the end of the street and plow the other side of the street.

The advantage of the two-plow system is that it reduces plugging driveways from two times to once and increases the efficiency of snow removal.

Vermillion's network of streets will be kept open and maintained except in the case of unusual weather conditions. If heavy snow with high winds

is forecast, snow removal will not begin until the snow stops. Plowing during high winds is unsafe because visibility is minimal. During these conditions, only the emergency routes will be kept passable.

Emergency snow conditions

When weather conditions are severe enough to make most travel impossible, the city may declare an emergency ban on travel. Factors such as temperature, wind, wind chill and current and projected snow accumulations influence the decision.

If a ban is issued, an announcement will be made on local radio stations KVHT and KOSZ. Residents are urged to listen to the radio during heavy snowstorms to keep informed if any ban on travel has been issued.

Anyone driving during an emergency ban on travel is subject to a $10 fine. All vehicles on emergency snow routes will be towed at the owner's expense. Residents are asked to observe the emergency ban on travel and to move vehicles off emergency snow routes as soon as snow begins to accumulate.

Citizen responsibilities

Snow can be very beautiful, but it can also create hazards. When local residents fail to clear their public sidewalks, the result can be a treacherous ice patch. Removal of the snow helps protect pedestrians from possible injury.

Residents are required by city ordinance to clear sidewalks (including those crossing alleys and driveways) within 24 hours after any fall of snow or freezing rain. Snow should be piled in the resident's yard, not out in the street. If freezing rain has fallen and sidewalks are icy, city ordinance charges the resident to place a suitable material (sand or salt) to keep sidewalks safe for pedestrian travel.

If snow or ice has not been cleared from the sidewalk, the city's code enforcement office will notify the resident of the problem with a notice hung on their door. If the sidewalk has not been cleared within 24 hours of the notice, the city will have the snow or ice removal done by other means and charge the cost to the property owner. To report a hazardous sidewalk, call the code enforcement office at 677-7089.

Citizens are also reminded that residents are liable for injuries pedestrians may suffer on their sidewalk if the sidewalk has not been cleared within 24 hours after snow stops falling.

For more information, call the City of Vermillion Street Department at 677-7050.

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