Snow & Ice Control Policy

The City of International Falls takes great pride in providing safe and efficient snow and ice removal operations. Our goal, to the extent reasonably possible, is to clear snow covered streets and alleys and restore safe driving conditions as soon as possible following winter snowfalls. The City recognizes the importance of maintaining passable streets for emergency vehicles and the general public. This policy supersedes all previously written documents and unwritten policies on the subject of snow and ice control.

Note: For purposes of this policy the term Street is used interchangeably with Avenue, Boulevard, Lane, etc.


Commencement of snow removal and ice control operations depends upon immediate and anticipated conditions. The Street Commissioner generally initiates snow removal and ice control operations when:

  • Weather conditions do not endanger the safety of the employees or equipment
  • Operations will be effective
  • There are at least three inches of snow accumulation
  • Rain/ice storms and/or periods of light snow create slippery conditions

Operations may be initiated any time the operations are deemed to be beneficial.

The City plows Trunk Highways and County State Aid Highways in addition to City streets in cooperation with MNDOT and Koochiching County Highway Department.

Snow is generally plowed from the center of the street outward toward the outer edge of the driving surface. Some streets may be plowed from one side of the street to the other. In commercial areas where boulevard space is limited, snow is generally windrowed to the center of the street to be hauled away.

Snow is plowed to the edge of the street without regard for sidewalks, driveways and other boulevard features. The City recognizes the inconvenience that comes from accumulations of snow on sidewalks and driveways, however, those concerns must be secondary to the benefits of cleaning the streets in an efficient and timely manner. The City is not responsible for removing snow from private driveways and sidewalks.

Plowing operations may be repeated, in the event of a continuous snowfall. It is not unusual to plow the main thoroughfares more than once during the same snowfall to prevent the buildup of packed snow and ice.

The City does not have a bare pavement policy. However, whenever practical, City forces will remove sufficient snow/ice to provide safe and reliable traction for vehicles. It is acceptable and expected, under the parameters of this policy, that snow pack might remain on the driving surface.

Alleys and Municipal parking lots are plowed with front-end loaders, which push and pile snow to be hauled away by trucks.

The City sands public thoroughfares and parking lots with a mixture of sand and salt to provide traction and initiate de-icing on all Trunk Highways and at all controlled intersections. If extreme conditions exist, the City may also sand uncontrolled intersections, alley approaches and Municipal parking lots. The City may use other minerals, chemicals and mixtures, etc. to assist in ice control, provided that these minerals are safe for the environment and economically feasible.

Emergency services officers (Police/Fire) may dispatch operators and equipment to assist emergency operations or when hazardous conditions develop.

The Street Commissioner may suspend snow/ice removal operations if, at any time temperatures, winds, visibility, and/or the rate of accumulation make operations unsafe, ineffective, or unnecessary.


Priority is given to those roadways designated as arterial and collector streets. Residential roadways and alleys are a secondary priority. Personnel and equipment are assigned to specific routes in order to provide an efficient and balanced approach to the snow and/or ice removal process.

  • Plow/Sand Priority I
    • Trunk Highways
    • Fire Hall/Ambulance Ramp
  • Plow/Sand Priority II
    • Collector and arterial streets
    • Downtown alleys
  • Plow/Sand Priority III
    • All remaining residential streets and avenues
    • All remaining alleys
    • Sidewalks through Municipal Square
    • Fire hydrants
  • Plow/Sand Priority IV
    • Sidewalks adjacent to trunk highways
    • Designated pedestrian paths
    • Crosswalks at all signalized intersections

Snow removal operations, involving the hauling of piled or windrowed snow will normally begin following the completion of the plowing schedule.

  • Snow Removal Priority I
    • Commercial areas
  • Snow Removal Priority II
    • Fire Hall/Ambulance Ramp (Piled snow)
    • All Municipal Lots (Piled snow)
  • Snow Removal Priority III
    • Sidewalk and alley piles
    • Windrows on main thoroughfare boulevards


Minnesota Statute prohibits unauthorized people from plowing, shoveling, blowing, or placing snow onto public roadways.

City snowplow trucks and equipment are required to stop and back up during plowing operations. The operators’ vision is often hampered by equipment and weather conditions. The driving public is expected to provide a sufficient buffer space between their vehicle and City snow/ice removal equipment.

Contact Information

We hope this information is helpful in explaining the City snow removal policies. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Street Commissioner Monday – Friday, between the hours of 7 AM and 3 PM at 283-4403, or for after hours or weekend concerns contact the Fire Hall dispatcher at 283-2929.

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