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City plans to declare more snow emergencies

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Public Works Department plans to make better use this winter of an emergency snow removal policy that's already in place.

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington Public Works Department plans to make better use this winter of an emergency snow removal policy that’s already in place.

Worthington Director of Public Works Todd Wietzema plans to declare more snow emergencies this winter in an effort to save the department time, effort and money.

“When the snow emergency goes into effect, there will be no parking on city streets,” Wietzema said.

At least four hours in advance of taking effect, the snow emergency declaration will be broadcast on local radio stations and Sioux Falls television stations. The notice will also be disseminated as a Nixle alert and on the city’s Facebook page.

Vehicles found parked on streets during a snow emergency will be ticketed and subject to being towed, in which the owner would be required to pay, Wietzema added.

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When streets are clear, Wietzema will terminate the snow emergency, which will be disseminated through the same mediums. At that time, normal odd/even parking restrictions will take effect.

Per city ordinance, a snow emergency may be in effect for up to 48 hours.

“Only under extreme conditions do I expect it to be much longer than 12 hours,” Wietzema added.

Wietzema said there is no specific snow accumulation amount that allows him to declare a snow emergency. However, if the department will plow the entire town, individuals should be prepared for a snow emergency to be declared and to move their vehicles off the streets, he said.

The decision to begin implementing the city’s snow removal ordinance was made to potentially become more efficient in snow removal.

Wietzema said as it has been in the past, with the city’s odd/even parking restriction, the department would plow one side of the street one day and the opposite side the next.

By declaring a snow emergency, a street could theoretically be cleared in significantly less time, Wietzema said.

To be most effective, Wietzema urged Worthington residents to pay attention to the weather forecast and conditions.  

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“If it’s supposed to snow, be prepared to have your car off of the street,” he said. “The more compliance we have, the quicker the snow emergency will be terminated.”

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