DES MOINES, Iowa — Winter’s grip is not letting up. “If you look at the patterns from the last several winters, we get snow and it would melt, we get snow and it would melt. Now we are in a period where it is not melting,” said West Des Moines Public Services Director Bret Hodne.
It is now piling up, and Hodne says snow removal is becoming problematic. “Especially in some of our streets like the cul-de-sacs, we are running out of places to put the snow.”
Fortunately for Des Moines, they have an empty former waste management site to haul snow to when it will not melt. “It holds snow all winter long and slowly melts over the spring,” said Des Moines Public Works Director Jonathan Gano. Cities like West Des Moines do not have that luxury of a similar site. Hodne said, “When you start having to haul snow, load it out, it is very expensive. It is very time consuming to have to pull that snow out and actually load it.”
Downtown Des Moines presents unique challenges, as parking meters seem to be working undercover, barely peaking from the snow. “Under normal circumstances we would go in this week and clean out all that snow, except we are going to get more snow tonight.”
Gano says they will have to wait until Monday to clear snow from parking meters. The lack of space downtown is already crowding the streets and pushing cars into roads that are already marked as bicycle lanes. “Sidewalks and businesses with no front yards, there is limited real estate to put the snow,” said Gano.
There are different issues for each city trying to deal with the same harsh Iowa winter. Hodne said, “For the past five weeks, we’ve almost gotten our typical, normal winter snowfall all compressed into that five week area.”
Urbandale and Ankeny are facing similar snow storage issues. If you feel a pile of snow is posing a dangerous risk to drivers, contact your local public works department.