Duluth Winter Watch

Duluth Facts

Our Street Maintenance team is in charge of keeping our streets free of snow and ice for the duration of the winter. Below are some facts about our team and the equipment we use.

  • 25 plow and sanding trucks, equipped with wings, pre-wet systems and automatic sanding controls
  • 22 motor graders used for moving larger amounts of snow and ice build-up
  • 35 full time snow plow operators and 28 trained secondary operators for fatigue relief or to backfill  
  • 4 locations throughout the city that house equipment along with stockpiles of salt, salt brine and sand

To help keep our streets passable in the winter, we utilize sodium chloride (road salt) along with washed sand and salt brine. Depending on the weather, road conditions and temperature, we will use a combination of all of these to ensure safe winter driving. Below are some facts about our streets and salt/sand.

  • Yearly average of 13,628 tons of salt and 8,410 tons of sand
  • We spend an average of $825,000 in road salt and $91,000 in washed sand each winter
  • Road salt is almost ineffective at temperatures below 10 degrees
  • Road salt needs moisture and crushing motion to start the process of melting
  • We maintain over 450 miles of roadway
  • We have over 16 miles of road with a 6% road grade and higher

Environmental Stewardship

We live in an amazing area and we need to keep it clean and safe. Knowing the effects that road salt has on our environment, we attempt to strike a balance between environmental consciousness and public safety. Here is a link to the MPCA website that talks about the hazards of road salt, along with some ways we minimize salt use during plowing operations. We implement the items below to help aid in the reduction of our chloride footprint.

  • Annual training for plow operators including smart salting techniques
  • Target deicer on hills and intersections with high probability of accidents and less material on flat low-volume areas
  • Treat roads with brine when conditions deem it most effective
  • Keep up to date with advancements in anti-icing processes and technology