New Brighton Street and Sidewalk Maintenance
The City of New Brighton has 70 miles of municipal or local streets, 21 miles of county roads and 4 miles of state trunk highways.
The City uses the Metropolitan Council’s hierarchical classification scheme that has four general classifications for roadways within the City: principal arterial, minor arterial, major collector, and local streets. Major streets are laid out in a gridiron pattern allowing traffic to move logically from local street to collector to minor arterial to principal arterial and back again. The City also has a skeletal sidewalk system that contains approximately 21 miles of sidewalks.
The following Transportation Objectives were developed for the City of New Brighton’s transportation system under the City’s comprehensive plan:
- To develop safe, efficient and convenient transportation systems for use by automobiles, mass transit, bicycles, and pedestrians.
- To develop transportation facilities in a manner which does not adversely impact adjacent land and deteriorate the quality of life in the community.
- New Brighton seeks to develop its transportation system consistent with the Metropolitan Council Transportation Plan Policy and to be compatible with adjacent communities, Ramsey County and the State of Minnesota.
New Brighton is a substantially built-out City so there are no plans to construct new roadways within the City. All of the planned street improvements are rehabilitation of existing facilities.
The City of New Brighton has 24.2 miles of sidewalks located along roadways and 14.5 miles of bituminous paths in City parks, and in Long Lake Regional Park.
There are sidewalks along nearly every major collector and arterial street in the City. Sidewalks are located along these heavily traveled roads for safety reasons and also because they connect neighborhoods to many different destination points throughout the City. Sidewalks are not needed on the local streets because of the lower volume and speed of vehicular traffic.
New Brighton sidewalks are maintained by the City Public Works Department. The City’s policy is to clear all sidewalks of along roadways within 8 hours of a 2 inch or greater snowfall. Getting sidewalks cleared in school areas prior to the opening of school is a plowing priority. Placing trash or recycle bins clear of sidewalks makes plowing of these areas significantly more efficient for plow operators.
The sidewalk system is swept in the spring to remove road salt and sand that accumulates over the winter.
Sidewalks are inspected annually for “trippers” (sidewalk panels that push up by frost action), obstructions such as tree branches and other obstacles that might be hazardous. When any of these conditions are found or reported they are repaired, usually by a contractor.
The New Brighton Public Works Department plows approximately 70 miles of city streets, 121 cul-de-sacs and 21 miles of city sidewalks. Generally the snow plows are sent out when snow accumulates to 2 inches or more which happens about 12 times per year on average. The average snow season in the Twin City area runs from Thanksgiving to March 15th with the average annual snowfall of 45 inches.
The city street system is divided into 6 maintenance districts for snow plowing. To remove the snow from streets, the City uses 5 truck mounted plows with sanders and 1 motor grader. The trucks with sanders spread salt on hills and at intersections as they plow. The first truck completing it’s district is sent to salt the hills and intersections in the motor grader district.
A priority route system has been established and is plowed first. Priority routes are generally higher volume streets that allow residents and emergency vehicles faster and better access to all areas of New Brighton. The Ramsey County roads in New Brighton are all priority routes and the County usually has them opened for travel when the city priority streets are opened.
After the priority routes have been plowed and salted, the remainder of the streets are plowed. The order of plowing within the districts is rotated so the same streets are not always plowed first or last. Depending on the amount of snow, each district takes about 8 to 10 hours to complete.
A one-ton truck and a front end loader with a plow are used to remove snow from the Public Safety Center and City Hall parking lots, alleys, lift stations and well houses. The first priority is the Public Safety Center and City Hall parking lots, followed by alleys. The front end loader and a large tractor plow the most difficult cul-de-sacs.
New Brighton City Code regarding No Parking After Snowfall states:
Section 29-20 and Section 29-21 of the City Code restrict daytime parking on streets to 6 hours between 5:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., and night time parking to 30 minutes between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
Cars that are parked in violation of the Ordinance are plowed in. After the snowfall is over and the streets are cleared, the cars that have been plowed in are usually gone and the remaining snow can be removed. Cars that are not removed within a reasonable period of time are towed by the Police Department.
Mail boxes that are physically hit by our snow plows are repaired by the City. Boxes downed due to the force of the snow hitting them are the owner’s responsibility. Temporary repairs are made to mail boxes that are physically hit by the plow to avoid an interruption in mail service. Permanent repairs are made in the spring when the ground is thawed.
When plowing snow, some plows do climb the curbs and disturb the yard, this is especially true of cul-de-sacs. If a resident’s yard is damaged, the resident should call the Public Works office at 651-638-2111 and report it. In the spring, all yard damage will be repaired by the Public Works Department with black dirt and seed.
Ice Control on City Streets
When streets become glazed or icy, the 5 plow trucks are sent out and they salt intersections and hills. When no snow plowing is involved, it takes about 4 hours to complete an entire salting operation.
After a snowfall, if an icy area or a drifted area is observed a Public Works Supervisor, he dispatches a truck to salt or plow this area. If a citizen observes such an area and informs the Public Works office, a truck will be sent to correct this condition.
The sand that is used is mixed with salt and stockpiled in the yard at the maintenance building. About 100 tons of sand and 300 tons of salt is purchased in the fall of the year and will carry the City through a normal winter. A small portion of salt is mixed with sand during very cold temps, when salt is ineffective. Liquid Magnesium Chloride is applied in busy intersections before storms, to keep the snow from bonding to the road surface.
Plowing City Sidewalks
The City removes snow from approximately 21 miles sidewalks in the skeletal sidewalk system. Plowing of the sidewalk system is done with the two trackless snow plows with blowers. City park paths and walkways are plowed after sidewalks are cleared.
Plowing the sidewalk system generally starts about 4 hours after the plowing of City streets has started. A normal snowfall can be cleared from the sidewalks in about 6 hours. The intent is to have the sidewalks in school areas cleared before the opening of school, but not before the adjacent streets as the sidewalks would be undone by the street plows. The streets in front of schools are priority routes and will normally be plowed within the first 4 hours of plowing. Salt is not used on sidewalks.
Sweeping provides two primary benefits to the City. The more obvious benefit is the collection and removal of paper, leaves, and other visible debris that collect in the gutters. In addition to being unsightly, this debris can block the catch basins and other storm water facilities, causing localized flooding during heavy rains. An equally important, but less visible benefit is the removal of pollutants and other hazardous waste products left by passing vehicles. Although they are virtually invisible, these particles can be extremely harmful to the fish and other wildlife, if they reach our creeks and lakes.
The City begins street sweeping as soon as the ice and snow is out of the gutters, typically in April.
The first areas swept are the lower drainage areas which contribute directly to lakes and streams. After the low drainage areas have been swept, main traffic routes and newly reconstructed streets are swept. The remainder of the streets are then swept from north to south or south to north by areas, rotating their starting points every year. Alleys and parking lots are swept after all streets have been cleaned.
The City does miscellaneous sweeping of streets during the season as required to keep excessive dirt from the streets. In the fall, usually beginning of October, the City will monitor and sweep areas as necessary to keep leaves and debris from plugging storm sewer catch basins.
Streets are seal coated every 5 years and then again at 13 years after their construction or reconstruction. Seal coating is considered maintenance and there is no direct charge or assessments against the property owners on the streets seal coated.
Seal coating is a process of distributing bituminous oil, or liquid asphalt, on the street surface and then covering it with small rock chips. After the rock is been allowed to work into the oil, approximately 10 to 14 days, the excess rock is swept up and the seal coat provides the street a new water proof surface and uniform look. Prior to seal coating, the City cleans and fills pot holes and cracks, and thoroughly sweeps the streets.
Consequently seal coating does not add strength to the street, therefore, it is not used on older streets that need other type of repair such as overlaying or total reconstruction.
Springtime is a critical period for Minnesota’s roads. Soils and aggregate base materials are in a weakened state during and immediately following the frost leaving the ground. In order to prevent excessive roadway damage and protect the public’s investment, it is important to place vehicle load restrictions or limits at the beginning of the spring thaw.
By law, the City of New Brighton, along with all other cities and counties in the state, must restrict the gross weight of vehicles using city streets when directed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Historically the load limits are from March 10th to April 28th in the metro area but the exact dates vary year to year depending on the weather.
Residential neighborhood streets are limited to 4 tons per axle gross vehicle weight with the collector streets being limited to 9 tons per axle gross vehicle weight.
Residents who have a remodeling or construction project in the works that require building materials, such as lumber, shingles, concrete, cement blocks, roll off dumpsters, etc., be delivered to the site are affect by these restrictions. The size of the delivery loads need to be downsized in order to meet lower 4 ton per axle weight limits which requires more trips by the supplier.
The City will issue permits for up to 5 tons per axle on residential streets in cases of emergencies. These permits will be issued on a day by day, case by case, basis and will depend on the condition of the street and the type of emergency.
For further information on State spring load restrictions, please visit MnDOT.