Sioux Falls streets should be cleared by noon Thursday; I-90, 29 reopened
City officials say city residents have done a good job of staying home during winter storm that dumped about 20 inches of snow.
SIOUX FALLS — Snow removal will continue in the city this morning with a goal of having all streets plowed at least once by noon on Thursday, Jan. 5.
Mayor Paul TenHaken held a briefing at 10:30 this morning, Jan. 4, to update the situation following a winter storm that, so far, has dumped about 20 inches of snow on the city.
Officials with several emergency response departments said that in large measure Sioux Falls residents heeded the no travel advisory that went into effect on Tuesday.
TenHaken said the theme of the day is “patience, patience, patience.”
Even as streets are cleared, the large amount of snow will restrict lane widths. Streets that are normally four lanes may be two and other areas may have room for one car in either direction. In addition, the huge snow piles make intersections difficult to navigate, said Capt. Jeff Garden of the Sioux Falls Police Department.
“Make sure you clear all snow off your windows so you can actually see where you are driving,” he said.
Garden also urged drives who venture out to give emergency vehicles and tow trucks as much space as possible.
Police Chief John Thum said so far, residents had made good choices and stayed home.
Thum said he saw people helping each other, including a young man shoveling out an elderly woman’s driveway. When everybody is snowed in, it’s important to help each other out, he said.
“It’s a great time to be a great neighbor,” he said.
Dustin Hansen, street operations manager for the city, said there are about 200 employees and contractors working on snow removal.
As of the news conference, emergency routes had all been cleared and crews moved into zone 3 — the outer ring of the city — on Tuesday evening.
Plowing of north/south streets in zone 2 began at 8 a.m. this morning. Cars parked on these streets are subject to ticketing and towing until they are cleared or 5 p.m., whichever is earlier.
East/west streets in zone 2 will be plowed beginning 8 p.m. tonight, Jan. 4. Vehicles will be ticketed and towed until 5 a.m. or the streets are cleared.
Snow pickup in zone 1 — the downtown and core areas — will begin on Friday. During a snow alert parking is prohibited in the downtown area between 1 and 6 a.m.
While the city should be cleared by noon on Thursday, plowing and removing snow from major thoroughfares could continue for three to four weeks, given the amount of snow, said Hansen.
“It’s going to take us some time,” he said.
Outside of the city, however, major roads are starting to reopen. Interstate 90 reopened from Mitchell to Chamberlain at 8 a.m. Wednesday, and reopened for eastbound travel from Mitchell to Marion Road shortly before noon. As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, westbound travel on I-90 from Marion Road remains prohibited.
Travel in both directions on Interstate 29 was reopened Tuesday evening to the north of the I-90 junction to Brookings after a closure of approximately nine hours. I-90 from Marion Road to the Minnesota border and I-29 from I-90 to Beresford was not closed during the storm.
@SDHighwayPatrol issued over 20 citations for driving on the closed interstate yesterday. Many of those vehicles by-passed the closed gate and ended up getting stuck.— Craig Price (@PriceDPS1) January 4, 2023
It’s dangerous. And, it slows a more efficient opening for the rest of us. #keepSDsafe @SDPublicSafety
The closures left some South Dakotans impatient, as Craig Price, secretary of the Department of Public Safety, noted on Twitter that more than 20 citations were issued to drivers continuing to use the interstate after it was closed Tuesday.
Public officials urge South Dakotans to monitor announcements and information from law enforcement when deciding to travel.