Winter can be a challenge here in the Northland, but life hardly comes to a standstill. The City of Duluth reminds everyone that as we move about in the snow and icy conditions, safety is the #1 priority. Check out this page to stay up-to-date on news, regulations, and tips for a safe and hassle-free winter season.
Look for media releases related to specific storm events, or subscribe here to Press Releases from the Communications Office to stay informed.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the City preparing for the upcoming snow season?
The City of Duluth starts preparing for winter in August by hauling in winter sand and mixing it with 10% salt to prevent the pile from freezing. Early in October a stockpile of road salt is purchased. By the end of October, blacktop trucks are being converted back to sanding trucks for the winter season. All trucks, graders, spreaders, and other equipment are inspected to ensure safe operation.
The City of Duluth is continually looking at ways to increase efficiencies in snow and ice removal.
When will my street get plowed?
- City workers are challenged with clearing over 400 miles of city streets. Snow plow operators try their best to get streets cleared for the morning commute. However, it is possible your street may not be cleared immediately following a snowfall. The City asks for your patience as staff works to ensure safe travel for all.
- There is a schedule for snowplowing (see question below), but keep in mind that plows are able to remove a 3" snowfall much sooner than a 12" snowfall, for example. It also takes more time to plow heavier snow falls. During the "Halloween Mega Storm" in 1991, 36" fell over a 3 day period. Although all the equipment and operators worked around the clock, some folks waited up to 5 days to get plowed out.
Is there a schedule as to which streets get plowed and when?
- Every plow operator is assigned a route, and all routes include some main arteries, residential streets, and alleys in that vicinity. Plow route mileages are all around 50 lane miles each. Generally, after a snow event ends, city plows hit the streets at 2 a.m. and clear the main thoroughfares for the morning rush hour. By around 7 a.m. plows will start on the residential streets, and when those are finished, the alleys are plowed. Depending on the snowfall, it can be up to 56 hours before every street and alley in the city is plowed. Streets are usually plowed in the same order for each storm because it has been found to be the most efficient way to plow that route. Operators will alternate, though, if they have found another order to be just as efficient.
Does the City plow all streets and county roads?
- No. There are state and county road ways within the city limits, and those respective authorities plow their own roads. There are some exceptions, though. See the map for details.
- Questions about county roads can be directed to St. Louis County at 218-625-3800 during normal business hours.
- You can also access the county map at St. Louis County's web site.
Can I use salt and/or sand on my sidewalks?
What are the regulations for shoveling sidewalks?
- City ordinance Chapter 45, Article VI states that snow must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snowfall. For questions or concerns regarding sidewalk snow removal, call 218-730-4303.
Can I park on the street if snow plows are coming through?
You can park on the street IF you follow parking regulations. One of the biggest problems plow operators have is trying to plow streets with illegally parked cars. Parking on the wrong side of the street in a calendar parking area, parking too close to intersections, parking too far away from the curb, and parking in the alley right-of-way are common violations that prevent streets and alleys from being properly plowed. Violators are ticketed and sometimes towed if plows can't get through.
Is there anything I can do to get plowed out faster?
- Yes! If you have a driveway or garage, it is best to park there until after plows have been through your neighborhood. It takes more time to plow around a car than to plow against the curb. If you must park on the street, park legally and remind your neighbors to do the same.
Click below to read the City of Duluth's Snow and Ice Control Policy from the Legislative Code:
Who Do I Contact?
What number do I call in the case of an emergency or outside of normal business hours?
- Please call 218-730-4000.
Who do I contact with snow or ice control questions? (during normal business hours)
The plow damaged my property (i.e. car, structure, etc...). Who do I call?
- The city claims adjuster, Don Douglas, handles all property damage claims. Call 218-730-5276 or email email@example.com.
The City of Duluth is committed to providing safe snow and ice removal of our city streets, roads, and alleyways in the most efficient manner possible. We thank you for all you do to assist us and your neighbors in these efforts.
Comments, suggestions, or feedback are welcome. Please direct them to
Maintenance Operations Manager Kelly Fleissner at 218-730-4491 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.