RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City had its first major snow of the season, and the street department worked to keep streets safe and clean for the public.
In the summer, that usually means fixing potholes and rough patches in the road. In the winter, it means snow plowing and maintaining snow vehicles throughout the year.
“We keep on top of our snow equipment all year long, but when we do know that there’s a snow event coming, we’ll get out and we’ll double-check all of our equipment and make sure all of our equipment is functional and prepared and ready to go,” said Dale Pfeifle, the Superintendent of the Rapid City Street Department.
And if you’ve ever wondered why your street is not plowed when you’re heading out for work, Pfeifle says certain roads have priority.
“Our priorities are obviously the main lines,” Pfeifle said. “5th street, 8th Street, Omaha, so that our emergency services can get to the hospitals and places like that.”
As for when plows get out to clean the roads, they keep a constant rotation around the city and plow as needed.
“If they’re predicting we’re gonna get 10 inches of snow, well, we can’t wait until it’s completely over because people can’t get around,” Pfeifle said. “So, we’ll get out there, like that one we had last year for thanksgiving, just out of thanksgiving, we had 17.5 inches of snow, well we plowed main lines probably four to five times to keep it off the streets to keep the streets open.”
During a snow event, the department uses all 50 of its vehicles, including spares to clean the city up as fast as possible, but there are also safety measures you can take to keep yourself and those around you safe. Checking tires and accounting for slower travel times is important, and of course, Pfeifle stresses to drive the road conditions, not the speed limit.
“In these cold, miserable days, it’s just really nice to be courteous to the next person,” Pfeifle said. “Nobody knows what’s going on in somebody else’s life, so a little courtesy goes a long way.”
Stay safe, stay warm, and be considerate.