Minnetonka Public Works is responsible for plowing and maintaining city-owned streets throughout the winter.
Citywide snow removal
Citywide snow removal occurs with two or more inches of snow accumulation. Bare pavement is not the goal of city snow removal efforts. Roads are cleared and then treated to promote melting of any remaining snow.
Plows are also dispatched for lighter snowfalls to ensure the main roads are free of snow and ice.
Citywide street snow removal operations typically begin between 2 a.m. - 4 a.m. with two or more inches of snow accumulation, but the exact time depends on the predicted start and end of the snowfall and its intensity.
In an average snowfall, the city’s goal is to clear streets and cul-de-sacs within nine hours. Snowplows typically do not operate during rush hour.
Snow removal on city streets is a four-step process during heavy snowfalls.
Step 1 – Main roads are plowed curb-to-curb.
Step 2 – Drivers move to residential neighborhoods. A first pass provides an initial access path down streets and cul-de-sacs.
Step 3 – Full-width plowing takes place, typically a few hours after the first pass.
Step 4 – Final cleanup occurs the following day and includes intersection cleanup, plowing where vehicles were parked and application of additional chemicals as needed to improve melting and traction.
The city is divided into 22 areas. Each area has heavily-traveled streets that are plowed first, followed by residential streets and cul-de-sacs.
The city’s snow removal fleet include approximately 30 vehicles, including plow trucks, loaders, motor graders, pickup trucks and more.
Snow removal on sidewalks and trails takes approximately three days. Operations typically begin at 5 a.m. and focus on three priority areas throughout the city.
Snow removal on ice rinks typically occurs the second day after a snowfall of two inches or more.
We will attempt to push snow as close to the curb as possible to provide access to mailboxes. If snow extends more than three feet into the street in front of your mailbox, call 952-988-8400 and we’ll return to clear it.
Final snow cleanup around mailboxes is the responsibility of the property owner.
During the winter, city staff checks the roads for frost and light snow at 5 a.m., five days-a-week, and treat needed areas to increase traction and promote melting.
Snow removal in cul-de-sacs is challenging. Plow drivers try to plow snow away from driveways and deposit it in open areas of the cul-de-sac.
When clearing snow from your property, do not push it into or across the street. If you use a snow removal service, ensure they’re aware of city snow removal guidelines.
It’s impossible for the city to clear snow from our 3,500 fire hydrants. Please consider shoveling out hydrants in your neighborhood – the time it will save our fire department could make a huge difference!
The city will repair damage to curbs and sod caused by city snowplows. Damage to private improvements (fences, sprinklers, rock gardens, etc.) in the right-of-way are the responsibility of the property owner.
Mailbox damage is an unfortunate consequence of snowplowing.
To report a damaged mailbox, call 952-988-8400 or use the city’s online request system. Damage must be reported by June 1.
- Public works will review all reported damage to determine if it was caused by direct contact with a plow, or by snow.
If damage was caused by direct plow contact and the city cannot repair the mailbox, the owner has two options.
- The city will replace the mailbox with a standard metal mailbox and / or wood support post.
- The owner can replace the mailbox and / or post and the city will reimburse up to $200.
- In both cases, the city will attempt temporary repairs until the mailbox and / or post can be replaced in the spring.
If damage was caused by snow, the city will attempt to make temporary repairs, but will not replace or reimburse.
Call 952-988-8400 for questions or to learn more about mailbox damage, repairs, replacement and reimbursement.
Help our snowplow drivers by clearly marking your curb lawn or driveway. The city provides free curb markers to residents. Stop by city hall (14600 Minnetonka Blvd.) or public works (11522 Minnetonka Blvd.) to pick them up. They’re easier to install before the ground freezes, so please plan ahead!
Please set garbage and recycling containers 3-4 feet behind the curb line so they won’t be impacted by snowplows. Do not place containers at the edge of the street or in the street.
Salt, road treatments and sand
The city responsibly uses salt, road treatments and – in certain situations – a limited amount of sand to improve winter driving conditions and assist with snow removal.
The city uses salt to assist with snow and ice on streets. Salt prevents snow or rain from freezing, and helps ice to melt.
Salt can have long-term negative effects on the environment, so the city has taken the following steps to greatly reduce our salt use.
- Anti-icing solutions and pre-treatment of roads reduces need for salt
- Waiting to salt until after the snowplow’s first pass, so salt isn’t immediately plowed off the road
- Measuring pavement temperature to determine the correct amount of salt to apply
- Calibrating equipment
Dry salt and the pre-treatment solution may leave behind a white residue for several days after snow and ice have melted. This means the salt temporarily bonded to the road, which is a positive result. Salt in the street is much better for the environment than salt in the gutter or nearby vegetation. Plus, this could help prevent ice during the next snowfall and reduce the need for additional treatments.
Prior to snowfalls, the city pre-treats most major streets with an anti-icing solution. This helps prevent the snow from sticking to the pavement, reduces ice formation, makes plowing easier and helps reduce the amount of salt needed.
The treatment looks like white lines on the street – that comes from salt deposited on the street after the water evaporates.
The city only uses sand to help provide immediate traction during ice storms, or when temperatures are too low for salt to be effective.
Otherwise, the city has eliminated the use of sand in its regular plowing operations. Sand does not prevent ice from forming or cause it to melt, and it eventually washes into the nearest waterway, where it can obstruct the flow of storm sewers or fill wetlands, lakes and creeks.
If possible, avoid using salt at your home. However, if slippery conditions and safety concerns require salt’s help, follow these tips to minimize use.
- Shovel snow as soon as possible so it doesn’t turn to ice.
- Remember: city snowplows make two passes, so wait to shovel near the road until after the second pass.
- Use non-chloride salts or de-icers. Apply liquid de-icer before snow storms to prevent snow and ice buildup.
- Make your own liquid de-icer with two cups of hot water and one cup of salt.
- Don’t over-salt. If it isn’t melting the ice, more salt won’t speed it up and could actually reduce effectiveness.
- If you accidentally over-salt, sweep up leftover salt crystals and re-use or throw away.
- If you’re salting a sloped area, only salt the higher elevation and allow it to cascade down.
- Don’t salt if it’s really cold. Rock salt isn’t effective below 15 F, and salt blends are rarely effective below zero.
- Use salt-tolerant plants and seed mixes – available at most nurseries – near paved surfaces.