220 Minneapolis intersections pinned for snow clearing - KMSP-TV

220 Minneapolis intersections pinned for snow clearing, draining

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A welcomed winter warm-up in the Twin Cities is inevitably accompanied by melting snow, and with melting snow comes street flooding.

"The puddles are enormous," Bill Shepherd told Fox 9 News. "It's very difficult to tell if there are any potholes in these puddles."

The city of Minneapolis announced it has crews out Monday to clear snow from storm drains in problem areas where snow blocks the catch basins that drain water into the storm sewer.

The city sent 8 public works crews out with loaders and other equipment to clear the storm drains at street corners.

"Almost every corner has drains,"  Brent Rubink, of Minneapolis Public Works, said. "They're just full of ice right now."

Crews have been working to clear snow throughout the season, and they picked up the pace late last week. Each crew can clear snow from 20 to 30 intersections a day.

"I lost count," Rubink admitted. "We just go from one to another."

Using everything from shovels to front loaders, crews have cleared more than 120 intersections so far.

"Once we get it open, it usually goes down pretty fast," Rubink said.

Based on the snow melt in previous years, about 220 intersections have been pinned as priorities.


Residents who see street flooding in their area should call 311 to report it so a crew can be assigned to clear out the storm drain. Monday afternoon, that phone line was averaging 50 calls per hour for clogged or frozen drains.

The work is expected to continue through this week and into the future as necessary.


The water above ground isn't the only thing causing trouble for crews and drivers. Insurance agents have been busy fielding calls about the potential for flood damage.

"If the sump pump or the city system can't keep up, it's going to come back up through the basement drain pipes," David Simmons, an insurance agent, warned.

According to Simmons, not all homeowners policies are created equal. Many require separate riders to cover seasonal flooding related to snow melt, and even those can vary depending on where the water damage is coming from.

"Flood insurance is a good thing to look at, but people have to remember, you need at least 30 days before it's effective. So, you can't wait until the last minute like right now," Simmons said. "It's 50 and everything is melting. A flood policy today wouldn't help you if you had problems."

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