Update from St. Louis County on road conditions, snow-clearing efforts

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Public Works Department  • Richard H. Hansen Transportation & Public Works Complex
4787 Midway Road, Duluth, MN 55811 • Phone: (218) 625-3830

James T. Foldesi, P.E.
Public Works Director/Highway Engineer




December 1, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

218-591-2219 (cell)


Public Works crews working hard to clear significant snowfall, continue to advise no travel in southeastern part of the county 

St. Louis County Public Works crews are out for a second day in a row, working to clear what has now been tallied by the National Weather Service in Duluth as 21.7 inches of snow. The heavy wet snow, combined with very gusty winds overnight made for terrible to impossible driving conditions, with drifting snow on roadways and slippery and rough driving even after roads were plowed.


No unnecessary travel remains the recommendation for the southeast portion of the county, which includes Duluth. St. Louis County Public Works crews have been out since 4 a..m., 

plowing and sanding. Their job has been made more difficult by the number of abandoned or stuck vehicles that they are trying to work around. Conditions were such that some plows have even gotten stuck.


Crews will work until dark today, and then resume at 4 a.m. tomorrow. The priority today are the heavier traveled paved county roads. They expect most if not all will be plowed and at least passable yet today, but caution they remain slippery and rutted. 


Many gravel roads will likely not be plowed until tomorrow, and it may be longer until plows read road association roads and private driveways.


"This was a major snow event, and people should not underestimate the impact it has made on our roads and the time it takes to clear it," said Jim Foldesi, Public Works Director. "We ask people to be patient and stay off the roads to make it easier for our plow operators to do their work. Our team is doing an amazing job under very difficult conditions."


Outside of the Duluth area, which did not receive as much snow, crews are making faster progress, and the public can expect roads to be plowed on a more typical schedule. Anyone encountering a snow plow is reminded to keep a safe distance and give them room to work.


St. Louis County Public Works is responsible for 3,000 miles of roads.