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Snow removal in rural Grand Forks County is different than in the city. It can be nice in town but immediately out of town you can experience reduced visibility. Be prepared! The County Highway Department has 544 miles of County roadway and 41 townships to maintain, all tallied up we plow 2,300 miles of road, one way, each time it snows or the wind blows. Depending on the snow fall, it usually takes 2-3 days after a storm has subsided to cover all the roads. After major storms it can and has taken up to 7 days.
The County utilizes 12 motor graders and 7 plow trucks to do the bulk of snow removal. County paved roads are the first priority, then County gravel roads, then small town and Township roads. Crews typically start early in the morning and work all day. Night shifts are not used. Weekend shifts are used when needed, but kept to a minimum.
Plowing a paved road is different than plowing a gravel road. To reduce the amount of gravel thrown by the plow, all plows are equipped with skids, which are lowered, and raise the cutting edge 1” to 2” above the roadway surface. The consequence of this is that a small amount of snow remains on the roadway, and eventually this snow will become hardpack or ice and is difficult to remove. On paved roads the skids are raised so the cutting edge rests on the asphalt.
Depending on conditions road salt/sand ice melt may be used to accelerate the melting process. Ice melt is typically concentrated at intersections. The County has 3 salt/sand spreading trucks.
Residents need to be patient and prepared for winter blizzard situations. Residents that need to be in town for their work or medical reasons are encouraged to make arrangements to stay in town during extreme weather conditions.
Landowners are asked not to push snow into the right-of way, which includes the roadway, inslopes, ditch bottoms, backslopes, and around mailboxes of any public roadway, including the portion of the driveway within the public right-of-way. This would include State, County and Township roadways. This practice can exaggerate the drifting problems experienced on roadways and can create obstructions for motorists. Pursuant to NDCC 24-06-28 - State law prohibits a person from obstructing, or causing to be obstructed, any public highway or right-of-way.