Year-Round Street Maintenance
Potholes are caused by the freeze-thaw cycle that generally runs from mid-February to sometime in April. During the warm part of the day, the road surface thaws and run-off collects in the cracks in the pavement. When the temperature falls below freezing again, the ground and water re-freezes and naturally expands, which breaks up the pavement. Then traffic pops out these broken sections of pavement, creating potholes.
During pothole season, City maintenance crews repair these nuisances daily. Priority is given to the more heavily traveled roads, but all holes are repaired as detected. Unfortunately, with the cold patch materials used for repair and with the thawing and re-freezing conditions, a pothole can be repaired one day and need to be repaired again in a day or two.
If you notice a dangerously large or deep pothole, please contact the City Street Maintenance Department at 763-593-8030 or fill out our Dangerous Pothole Reporting Form so it can be taken care of as soon as possible.
Pavement preservation is the most common method of preventive street maintenance. It's a surface treatment that seals and protects existing pavement and adds new life but does not add significant structural strength.
Golden Valley uses a single surface treatment, which means a single application of asphalt is sprayed on the existing bituminous surface, followed immediately by a single layer of aggregate (small pieces of rock) of as uniform a size as practical. The treatment is about 7/16 of an inch thick-the maximum size aggregate particles used. This type of treatment provides for excellent wear and waterproofing and also improves skid resistance. Here are a few things you can expect during the sealcoating process:
- Streets will be well marked with signals and cones. Use alternate routes if possible.
- Drive slowly over the rock; don't spin your tires.
- Excess rocks will become bumpy and will be swept as soon as the new surface is ready to be exposed.
- Roads will be swept as necessary throughout the summer and early fall. It may take three or four times before all the excess rock is picked up.
Don't forget: drive slowly and be patient. Crews doing the road work appreciate your cooperation. If you have questions about a particular street, contact Street Maintenance at 763-593-8082.
Golden Valley Street Maintenance crews sweep and clean city streets from March to November as the weather permits, making a special effort to focus on areas where storm sewers are tributary to Bassett Creek or Sweeney Lake so that debris doesn't end up in the creek and/or lake.
March/April: All streets, curb to curb.
Streets are swept in the summer when debris exists due to storms or other circumstances.
October and November: After waiting for the majority of leaves to fall, sweep all streets curb to curb as needed.
In Golden Valley, the City begins plowing after snow accumulates to 2 inches or more. When snowfall continues for long periods, crews plow main arterial routes and "through" streets that connect neighborhoods to State and County roads to keep these roads passable until all City streets can be plowed. If strong winds and drifting cause unsafe conditions for snowplow drivers, plowing stops until conditions improve. However, efforts are made to continue plowing during rush hour to help people get home safely.
Golden Valley also plows sidewalks. Depending on weather conditions, this usually starts about four hours after the streets. Follow-up passes are made as needed.
Snow Removal From Private Property
Removal of snow and ice from private property to a roadway, across a roadway, or onto a sidewalk or adjacent property is prohibited by City ordinance and State statute. When snow is being removed from your driveway or parking lot (whether you do it or hire someone to do it), make sure it stays off of roadways, sidewalks, and adjacent property. Improper snow removal can result in many complications, some of which can be very dangerous. If you or your plowing contractor have questions regarding this issue, contact the Public Works Maintenance Manager at 763-593-3981. To report an ordinance violation, contact the Property Maintenance Inspector at 763-593-8074.
Parking on Public Streets
To prevent obstructions during ongoing ice control operations, parking is prohibited on public streets and alleys November 1 to March 31 from 2 to 6 am daily. Vehicles may be parked on private property in parking lots and driveways. To request a temporary exemption, fill out the Winter Parking Waiver Form. All waivers are temporary and void during snowfalls of 2 inches or more until snow has stopped falling and the streets are cleared curb to curb.
Parking is prohibited on any public street after a snowfall of at least 2 inches until the snow has been plowed to the curb line. Keep in mind that the Minneapolis snow emergency announcements on TV and radio do not apply to Golden Valley.
After a snowfall of at least 2 inches, supervisors from the Public Works and Police Departments confer and determine when enforcement will commence. Vehicles in violation are cited by patrolling police, and those still in violation after 24 hours may be towed. After 2 inches of snowfall, vehicles parked in locations that create an extreme hazard may be towed immediately by the police or at the request of State, County, or City street maintenance personnel.
Each winter, stay informed of the weather forecasts and move your vehicle from the streets whenever snow is in the forecast.
Sometimes property damage occurs when snowplows are operating. The City doesn't assume liability for damages to obstacles in the road right-of-way (irrigation heads, landscaping, etc). If possible, remove these obstacles from the right-of-way or mark them clearly to aid plow drivers. Mailboxes, which are generally an obstruction in City's right-of-way, are repaired or replaced only if the plow makes direct contact (sometimes snow from the plow can dislodge the box from the post or bend a weak post). Make sure your mailbox post is solid and securely fastened to the box.
The City will conduct a review of each mailbox incident to determine whether a snow plow came into direct contact with the mailbox or support structure. The City will only repair mailboxes actually hit by a snowplow and installed to United States Postal Service Residential Mailbox Standards (see drawing). The City will not be responsible for damage to mailboxes or support posts caused by snow or ice coming into contact with the mailbox.
Based on the City's review, the City will repair the mailbox to an operational state, or if the mailbox is unable to be adequately repaired, the City will replace the mailbox with a standard size, non-decorative metal mailbox. If necessary, the City may also replace the support post with a 4-inch by 4-inch decay resistant wood support post. Dents, scratches, or other superficial damage that does not prohibit normal use of the mailbox will be considered normal wear and tear and will not be repaired or replaced by the City.
Often, plow drivers literally "feel" their way along streets because of conditions, and regrettably, lawns are cut up. If this happens to you, please report it to Street Maintenance at 763-593-8030. Damages are repaired each spring with black dirt and seed or sod.
Don't Crowd the Plow!
We all share in the responsibility of keeping our roads safe. That's why it is very important for residents, especially children, to know what they can do to help snowplow operators:
City crews use a sand-salt mixture on icy areas. This doesn't guarantee totally ice-free streets, so drive carefully even where sanding is evident. Priority areas are sanded first, and all other areas are done when time permits. Priority areas include:
- intersections of City streets and County and State roads, school and pedestrian crossings, bridge decks, and all arterial street stop sign intersections
- street intersections having higher than average traffic volumes, and streets with hills and curves
- all other stop signs, and areas deemed hazardous by City crews or Public Safety officials
- My hill is icy. Can you send someone out to put salt/sand down?
Requested locations for salt will be checked as part of the normal checks of major roads, hills, and curves. The City follows State guidelines for salt/sand application rates and works to balance safety with environmental impacts.
- My cul-de-sac is icy. Can you send someone to put salt/sand down?
Major roadways, hills, and curvy road sections are top priority for addressing ice concerns. Depending on resources available, requests for salt in cul-de-sacs will only be checked after the priority locations have been checked.
- Is the City still plowing? If so, where are they? They have not come down my street at all yet.
After a snowfall of 2 inches, all City street are plowed curb-to-curb. Crews work systematically to clear all the streets; however, routes may change due to a variety of factors such as parked vehicles or traffic.
- Can you tell me what time the plow will come by my house? I need to leave for work by 11 am.
After a snowfall of 2 inches, all City street are plowed curb-to-curb. Crews work systematically to clear all the streets; however, routes may change due to a variety of factors such as parked vehicles or traffic. When the weather cooperates, crews try to start very early in the morning so that most of the streets are plowed by 8 am.
- Why is my street never plowed? It hasn’t been plowed all winter!
During snow events the focus of crews is on major roadways and hills. After a snowfall of over 2 inches, all City streets will be plowed. Most drivers have had their same routes for years and it is very unlikely that a street would be routinely missed all winter. As snow pack on the street starts to melt the road may turn a bit slushy. Some residents see this melting and think that the street was not plowed since the last snowfall.
- If you don’t know when the plows will come by, can residents just plow the street themselves?
Residents are not encouraged to plow the streets themselves.
- Would you please tell the plow driver to slow down?
Snowplow trucks generally operate below 20 miles per hour while plowing residential streets. Due to the size of the truck and the noise the engine makes while plowing the trucks can appear to be traveling faster than they really are.
- How fast does the driver operate the snowplow?
While plowing residential streets, the snowplows tend to travel between 10 and 20 miles per hour. On wider streets the plows travel closer to 30 miles per hour. When the snowplows are fully loaded and plowing, they are very heavy and the engines have to work hard. The noise from the truck engines may give the impression that the trucks are traveling fast while they really are not. Also, the size of the trucks can also be a bit misleading for judging vehicle speed.
- Would the snowplow please not leave snow or leave less snow at the end of my driveway?
The goal of the snow plowing effort is to remove the snow efficiently from the street by pushing it to the side. Since the driver is only pushing the snow on the street, they have little control over how much snow is deposited at the end of a driveway.
- Could you lift your blade at my driveway? OK then, can you just turn the blade?
Snowplows will not lift their blades at the end of the driveway as this will leave a large pile of snow in the street at the end of the driveway. The focus of plowing is to remove the snow from the street. This involves pushing the snow to the side of the street. Drivers are unable to constantly turn their blade in order to avoid driveways.
- Can’t you time your plowing a little better to give me time to remove the plow mound from my driveway early in the morning? When I come home from work I cannot get in my driveway.
Snow plowing is generally started as soon as the snowfall has ended. When the weather cooperates, crews try to start very early in the morning so that most of the streets are plowed by 8 am. After a snow emergency has been called, on-street parking is allowed once the street has been plowed to the curb.
- Would the snowplow driver please put more snow on the other side of the street?
The goal of the snow plowing effort is to remove the snow from the street by pushing it to the side. When possible the driver tries to evenly balance the snow to both sides of the street; however, this is not always possible.
- Can you plow the snow away from (out of) the cul-de-sac, instead of around the cul-de-sac, leaving all of the snow in my yard?
In order to plow the street efficiently, snow is pushed to the closest curb as possible. In cul-de-sacs this can be a challenge as there are driveways, mailboxes, fire hydrants, and signs that need to be avoided. Storage space is limited and some residents in cul-de-sacs may have more snow stored in front of their house than others depending on the situation.
- I live across the street from a park, would the City please put all the snow on that side of the street?
The goal of the snow plowing effort is to remove the snow from the street by pushing it to the side. When possible the driver tries to push more of the snow towards the park side; however, it is nearly impossible for all the snow to be pushed to one side of the street.
- The snowplow hit my garbage/recycling bin and it’s now in the street. What can be done about that?
Snowplows are generally pushing snow from the street to the side of the road. It is unlikely that a plow could push a cart or trash can such that it would end up in the street. The City appreciates residents keeping their carts out of the street and, when possible, placing the carts a few feet behind the curb (whether in the driveway or other set back location) to minimize the impact from the plowed snow on the cart.
- The snowplow damaged my mailbox, who will fix it?
Mailboxes are sometimes impacted by snow removal operations. The City will conduct a review of each mailbox incident to determine whether a snowplow came into direct contact with the mailbox or support structure. The City will only repair mailboxes actually hit by a snowplow and installed to United States Postal Service Residential Mailbox Standards. The City will not be responsible for damage to mailboxes or support posts caused by snow or ice coming into contact with the mailbox.
Based on the City's review, the City will repair the mailbox to an operational state, or if the mailbox is unable to be adequately repaired, the City will replace the mailbox with a standard size, non-decorative metal mailbox. The City may also replace the support post as necessary with a 4 inch by 4 inch decay-resistant wood support post, if necessary. Dents, scratches, or other superficial damage that does not prohibit normal use of the mailbox will be considered normal wear and tear and will not be repaired or replaced by the City.
- The snowplow damaged my yard, who will fix it?
The property will be added to a list of repairs. Crews will restore damaged turf in the spring with either sod or dirt and seed.
- Why is the snowplow backing up on a county highway?
To properly clear intersections of local streets and county highways, the driver must make a right turn from the local street onto the county highway and plow for a short distance. The driver then has to back up past the local street so they are setup to turn right and plow the other side of the local street. Plowing snow involves frequent backing, and it is important to note that vehicles must yield to snowplows while operating and give the snowplow plenty of room to operate. Please remember, don't crowd the plow.
- Why is the street not plowed all the way to the curb?
When plows are out clearing the street they are simply pushing the snow to the edge of the road. With the amount of snow we get each winter the banks along the edge of the road get so high that the plow blades cannot push the snow over them. What ends up happening is that the plow compacts more snow along the sides of the street, which makes the street narrower. To address this issue that we have every year, the City deploys equipment to wing (push) back the snow banks along the edge of the streets. This process allows the plow blade to push the snow all the way to the curb and somewhat onto the boulevard.
- The snow is piled so high it is creating visibility issue. Can the City come out and remove some of the snow mounds?
After large snow events, the City sends out equipment to knock down ("wing" back) the mounds of snow along the street and at intersections. The snow is not removed from the location, but efforts are made to push it further back from the street. Specific requests regarding visibility concerns will be addressed as part of the winging process. Due to potential visibility concerns and the need to make more space for snow storage, crews are focused on systemically moving through the City instead of bouncing between individual requests.
- The street is getting narrow, can a plow come widen the road?
When plows are out clearing the street they are simply pushing the snow to the edge of the road. With the amount of snow we get each winter, the banks along the edge of the road get so high that the plow blades cannot push the snow over them. What ends up happening is the plow compacts more snow along the sides of the street, which makes the street narrower. To address this issue that we have every year, the City deploys equipment to wing (push) back the snow banks along the edge of the streets. This process allows the plow blade to push the snow all the way to the curb and somewhat onto the boulevard.
- How many plows does the City have?
The City has more than 10 plows and other various pieces of snow-removal equipment for City streets and sidewalks.