Snow & Ice
Snow & Ice Response Program
The Snow and Ice Response Program is designed to provide the best use of limited resources to maximize the movement of traffic within our community during winter weather. During storm events, we focus on clearing major arterial and collector streets first, then begin responding to residential connector streets, school zones, transit routes, and steep residential streets as resources become available. The plow routes are adjustable depending on accumulations of snow and ice, time of day, and flow of traffic.
Snow & Ice Control Policy
The City of Owatonna Snow & Ice Control Policy can be viewed here.
Snow and ice can be dangerous for all ages, but especially for children, the elderly and persons with disabilities who are more susceptible to injury. For example, when sidewalks are not cleared of snow and ice, children will often weave in and out of streets and sidewalks on their way to or from school or to and from the bus, which is a safety concern.
We thank you for doing your part to provide safe sidewalks for our citizens. Contact the City of Owatonna, Public Works Department with any questions at 507-444-4350.
Emergencies such as downed trees, power lines, etc. should be direct to 911 and 507-456-3093.
Property owners in the City of Owatonna are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks surrounding their property. Sidewalks must be cleared of snow the entire width of the concrete. The City of Owatonna would like to remind its residents that City Ordinance 94.005 requires that the owner, occupant or person in charge of property within the City of Owatonna to keep sidewalks adjoining their property free and clear of snow and ice. Any accumulated snow and ice must be removed from all city sidewalks within 24 hours from the time the snow ceases to accumulate on the sidewalk.
Property owners who do not adhere to the City of Owatonna snow removal policy may receive a written notice requiring that they remove the snow within the next 24 hours. If snow is removed from sidewalks prior to the expiration of the posted 24-hour notice, no further action will take place. If snow is not removed within the posted 24-hour notice, the City Engineer may have the snow removed. All related costs and an administrative citation will be billed to the property owner for removal of the snow.
An excerpt from the Owatonna City Code regarding Snow & Ice Removal from sidewalks can be found here.
Please do not place snow in the street. Piles of snow in the gutter will inhibit drainage resulting in ice buildup in gutters and on sidewalks. Citizens are advised to place all snow from sidewalks and driveways on adjacent landscaped areas.
- When are streets plowed?
According to the City of Owatonna’s Snow and Ice Control Policies and Procedures, City crews begin snow and ice control operations when two inches of snow accumulate, when drifting snow causes problems for travelling, when icy conditions affect travel or when road conditions could deteriorate due to peak traffic volumes. Full mainline and cul-de-sac plowing operations begin at various times, depending on the start time and duration of the storm event. Routes and operations are designed to maintain access of emergency vehicles to all areas as a first priority. The plowing of high volume roadways generally occurs first, followed by residential plowing. In general, city roadways are cleared of snow within 8 to 12 hours of the end of the storm events. These guidelines are used to remove snow from streets throughout the city including in the downtown area.
- When is snow removed from the new raised crosswalks, alleys and curb bump-outs downtown?
The new downtown streetscape includes raised crosswalks, walkable alleys and curb bump-outs to help achieve the vision for this project to improve accessibility and pedestrian safety. City crews are responsible for clearing snow and ice from these areas. These areas are snow removal crews’ priority and are done periodically throughout each snowfall event.
- What part of sidewalks are business owners responsible for removing snow from?
While the new sidewalk dimensions and surfaces are different from the former ones, the area that downtown merchants must shovel remains the same – straight out from storefronts to the curb. In areas where planters have been installed, merchants are responsible for removing snow and ice from around all sides of the planters adjacent to their storefronts. In the 200 block while barricades remain, the construction contractor will help with removing snow from sidewalks.
- How do I report mailbox damage?
You may request an investigation of mailbox damage with the Public Works Department by contacting 507-444-4350 or submit a Public Works Maintenance Request. Find more information regarding mailbox damage issues here.
- Where should snow shoveled from downtown sidewalks be placed?
Downtown merchants can shovel snow from the surface abutting their property onto the street where City staff will remove it. This should be done as soon as possible after snowfall events and prior to when City staff plows snow and must be done within 12 hours following each snowfall event.
- What special care needs to be taken with the fresh concrete surfaces downtown?
Only plastic-edged shovels and salt-free grit should be used on new concrete sidewalks. Metal edges and salt cause deterioration. City crews have designed an innovative snow removal plowing edge to ensure the new street surfaces downtown are preserved.
- Where can questions or concerns be directed regarding snow removal?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (507) 444-4350, or submit and Online Maintenance Request.