A Mandan driveway, with about 3 feet of snow piled at the bottom of the driveway, created partially by snow plows as they repeatedly clear the street during the Nov. 10 winter storm.

MANDAN, ND (KXNET) — As Mandan residents shovel or snow blow their way through 2-foot mounds of snow (or more) at the base of their driveways, a number are wondering why Mandan plows don’t use snow gates to minimize some of the manmade piles of winter misery.

It’s a complaint the city has heard for years and, in fact, officials did look into adding snow gates during a 2017 ad hoc committee investigation. What they learned wasn’t too encouraging.

“An ad hoc snow committee made up of Mandan residents, formed in 2017, reviewed the use of snow gates on city snow plows,” reads a statement on the Mandan city website. “The committee determined the cost of snow gates outweighed the benefit. In addition to the high cost of purchasing and maintaining the snow gates, introducing snow gates would require additional personnel and equipment. Communities that use snow gates report a 30-40 percent increase in the amount of time it takes to clear the streets, and snow gates are only effective in snowfalls of 6-inches or less.”

The Mandan Public Works Department revisited using snow gates again after the December 2018 snowstorm.

“After discussions with local cities using snow gates, the department reconfirmed the findings of the 2017 snow committee:

  • 30-40 percent slowdown in snow removal operations throughout the city
  • $150,000 to outfit 10 snow plows, plus the cost of maintenance for the equipment
  • Not effective in snowfalls greater than 6-inches

The department has determined snow gates still are not feasible for the city of Mandan at this time.”

So, for the foreseeable future, snow gates won’t be an option for Mandan.

You can read more about snow gates, Mandan’s general snow removal strategy and business and resident obligations here.