It Costs Des Moines $75K to Clear an Inch of Snow

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Snowfall overnight made a mess of roads, sidewalks and everything else in Des Moines.

Des Moines received 2.9 inches of snowfall. Public Works Director Jonathan Gano said that amount just met the threshold for a full snow clearing operation, which is not a cheap task.

Gano said it costs the city $75,000 to clear one inch of snow. He estimated this first storm of the season cost around $200,000 total.

“This is just enough snow, well past two inches, that’s our trigger to doing all the snow routes and all the residential streets, all the alleys, all the cul-de-sacs. It’s a little bit of everything,” said Gano.

Des Moines plow drivers gave up their Veterans Day vacations to keep the roads safe. The first crews came out at 7 p.m. on Sunday and worked overnight to clear as many roads as possible. All 100 plows were deployed. Gano said the road salt will take longer to work because of the cold.

Road conditions were slick Monday morning, causing dozens of accidents. Des Moines police said they were called out to 59 crashes before noon. That included nine cars sliding off the road, nine hit and runs and two crashes involving school buses. There were no serious injuries reported in any of those crashes.


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