Street Department Winter Operations

North Dakota winters are famous for a number of reasons. Snowstorms, frigid temperatures, and changing conditions are all part of the mix. People who live here can understand how winter weather can adversely affect their daily routine. The Grand Forks Streets Department is designed to deal with various weather conditions and minimize the adverse impact on residents, businesses, and visitors.

This page is intended to provide information on the city's winter operations.

Grand Forks maintains approximately 670 lane miles and sidewalks. During the winter months, the Streets Department has the responsibility for plowing and removing snow as well as controlling and treating icy conditions. The department's goal is to provide practical safe access to homes, business, public buildings, and medical facilities during winter storms.

Weather and local road conditions are constantly monitored during the winter months. Forecasts are followed closely and are an important tool particularly when tracking large storms. The Streets Department, Police, and other city departments constantly monitor road conditions. Streets crews are on call and equipment can be mobilized quickly to treat an icy section of town or address a dangerous situation. Certain areas such as the major and secondary arteries are priority in icy conditions.

Emergency Storm Plowing

For public safety reasons, the Streets Department does not begin to plow until after it has stopped snowing and blowing. If weather allows, the plows go out during regular shifts. Otherwise, the morning crews typically start between 10:00 to 11:00 pm, with part of the day crews starting around 3:00 am. By 3:00 am., all of the snow removal equipment is in full operation. The remainder of the day crew starts at the normal time of 7:30 am., and all equipment remains in operation. Plowing is typically completed around 2:00 to 3:30 pm., depending on snowfall amounts, conditions, and unanticipated breakdowns, etc.

Public Works Tip of the Month

Don't Forget Special Event Permits - ,Is your group or organization planning a special event or neighborhood block party? The Public Information Center offers a one-stop shop for permits. Fill out an on-line special events permit application or contact us at 746-4636 for you application.It allows you to concentrate on the planning, while we take care of the paperwork.

Plowing/Sanding Route Priorities:
  • 1st major arterials (Gateway, DeMers, Washington, Columbia)
  • 2nd major arterials, Bus Routes, and Downtown (Cherry, Belmont, etc.)
  • 3rd All other streets divided into eleven separate plowing areas.
  • Sanitation Department assists by plowing alleys with Payloader
  • Streets Department Sign Shop plows public Sidewalks and Bikepaths (Only those which are not private owner's responsibility, approximately 30 miles)
During Emergency Snow Removal following a storm, it is not possible to open driveways. Driveway clearing is done only with the normally scheduled Street Maintenance snow removal.

Ice Control: Sand trucks sand major and secondary arteries first with premixed sand/salt. Residential areas are done as time permits.

Ordinances: Property owners are to remove snow and ice from sidewalks within 24 hours of snow falling. It is illegal to push or otherwise deposit snow on City streets or sidewalks, with penalty fines of $10 to $500 upon misdemeanor conviction.

Normal Snow Removal Schedule

Snow Removal - $20 parking ticket fine

The normal snow removal schedule is consistently performed, but is interrupted by emergency snow removal and resumed once emergency removal is complete. For example, if a storm occurs on Sunday, the emergency storm schedule begins late Sunday night, and into Monday. Monday's normal schedule is suspended until emergency procedure is completed, and we would resume the normal schedule with the Tuesday route. Monday's normal snow removal, including driveway clearing, would resume the following Monday.

No Parking - 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

  • South of the Burlington Northern Tracks
  • Monday - streets that run North & South
  • Tuesday - streets that run East & West
  • North of the Burlington Northern Tracks
  • Wednesday - streets that run North & South
  • Thursday - streets that run East & West
  • Friday
  • ALL streets south of 32nd Ave S. & east of S. Washington
  • ALL streets west of Columbia Rd. & south of DeMers Ave.
The snow removal process includes:
  • Clean streets and intersections
  • Partially clear driveway ends
  • Street sanding, if needed
What Can Residents Do?
  • Leave vehicles off the streets until plows have gone by. This allows equipment to clear the area the first time through without having to return to clear later. Vehicles may be towed.
  • Limit themselves to essential travel only.
  • SLOW DOWN and allow extra time for travel.
  • Drive no closer than 50 feet behind our equipment.
  • Be understanding of the fact that the citizen's goal and the City's goal is the same: to clear snow in the most efficient, practical, systematic, and safe manner.
  • Do not shovel, blow or plow snow from driveways into or across the road. This practice is prohibited by city ordinance and can cause a serious traffic hazard. If possible, it is best to place snow on the side of the driveway opposite the direction from which the plow is coming. That way, the plow will carry snow away from the driveway rather than back into it.
  • When possible, wait until the street has been plowed before cleaning out the end of the driveway. There is no practical way to plow a street without depositing snow into driveways. Please understand the Streets Department cannot go back and shovel or plow out the end of any private driveway.
  • Help reduce the possibility of broken or damaged property including mailbox posts. All plow operators are urged to take precautions to avoid hitting anything. Reduced visibility and slippery conditions make it difficult for drivers to see objects in time to avoid striking them. Any installation within the highway right-of-way, including a mailbox, is placed there at the owner's risk. Therefore, owners are encouraged to put mailboxes at the furthest practical distance back from the paved surface, at a mounting height of at least 43". Reflectors are useful and should be mounted to be visible from all approaches. Posts should be checked periodically for deterioration or rot to reduce the possibility of their being broken off simply by the weight of plowed snow.
  • The Streets Department does not have a dispatcher on duty except during normal workdays from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (call 746-2570). During a bad storm please call only when absolutely necessary.
  • Do not be confused by plow trucks riding with their plows up. They may be going in for fuel, repairs, or headed for another area.
  • Finally, please be patient. The city has approximately 550 centerline miles of road and approximately 30 miles of sidewalk and bikepaths to clear. Snow removal is an arduous and time-consuming job; we strive to accomplish this task in a safe and timely manner.
To contact the Streets Department:

Phone: (701) 738-8740
FAX: (701) 738-8749

724 N. 47th St.
Grand Forks, ND 58203

email the Streets department

City of Grand Forks
255 N 4th Street * Grand Forks, ND 58203 * Phone (701) 746-INFO