The County Engineer for Stevens and Big Stone Counties explained how the Highway Department prioritizes plowing procedures in the wintertime on the KMRS Communiy Connection. Todd Larson the Highway Department has six trucks and one blade in the Morris shop, two blades out of the Chokio shop, one blade in Hancock and one in Donnelly. It takes an 11-men crew 12 hours to fully plow their route. Their first priority are the paved county roads, followed by gravel county roads, and lastly the lower volume township roads.
“We’re always trying to decide the balance between public safety or are we more of a hazard being out there when we can’t see where we’re going,” said Larson. “Are we going to cause an accident? In which case, we would have been better off just keeping them in the shed that day.”
As an example, Larson mentioned the winter storm right after this past Christmas, where plows were sent out that Saturday to do the paved roads but while they tried to do paved county roads that Sunday, conditions weren’t favorable to do a full plow. As they went out on the Monday there was a strong west wind blowing back on the windshields of the plows.