Simplified: The City of Sioux Falls is looking to add the technology to give residents a real-time tracker of where snowplows are during future snow events.

Why it matters

  • This winter has brought a near record-breaking 43 inches of snow to the city, and that's meant lots of work for Sioux Falls' snow plows.
  • As of now, the city can track which streets have been blowed on the city's website when snow alerts are active. But the goal is to have real-time updates on where plows and motor graders are by 2024, Streets Operations Manager Dustin Hanson told the City Council on Tuesday.
  • Hanson also gave the council an in-depth look at how snow removal works within the city, giving updates on everything from the fleet to the ten straight weeks of 12-hour shifts city teams worked to remove snow this winter.
"With the data that you have, the new technology that you're adopting with the snow alert tracker – these are outstanding performance indicators," Councilor Alex Jensen said Tuesday. "It's noticed that you're doing a really good job with the staffing that you have and all of the weather that's going on."

How does a snow alert work?

A snow alert means the city will plow all of the streets in the city.

  • The city doesn't call a snow alert every time it snows. Typically, it takes 3 to 4 inches of snow to warrant an alert, but it also depends on existing snow and future forecasts.

The city starts by clearing emergency routes, and then moves throughout different zones of the city.

  • It takes an average of 34 hours to clear all the roads once emergency routes are done.
"It truly is a one-team effort," Hanson said. "It's not just the street division ... we have over 200 city employees that could work a snow event, depending on the size of it."

What will the snow tracker show?

It'll pull data from all of the sanders and motor graders in the city – all of which are equipped with automatic vehicle locators, Hanson said.

The tracker will use different colors (red, yellow and green) to indicate progress on city roads (not done, in progress, done, respectively).

"We’ve had a progress map on our for the last few years but we’re trying to advance this and actually be a tracker map," Hanson said. "You as a citizen can log on to see the progress on your street or in your neighborhood."

What happens next?

Hanson said the real-time tracker should be ready to go by this time next year.