All in all, cleaning up the streets and highways after this week’s two-day storm has gone pretty well.

“We’re on top of things. Now it’s just a matter of hauling a lot of snow away,” said Jim Braunshausen, Mankato street superintendent.

The foot or so of snow that fell Thursday and Friday had city and county crews going full steam. They were helped in their efforts by not having to compete with other vehicles.

“The traffic has been real light both today and last night,” Sibley County Maintenance Foreman Robin Doering said Friday. “With all the school cancellations and businesses closed, it was pretty good.”

Sibley County had 15 plows out, with drivers working 12-hour shifts as they tried to keep 400 miles of county roads open.

“There has been drifting, but it’s not real bad,” Doering said. “We had everything open by 9 this morning, and we’ve just been widening and pushing it around today.”

Brown County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens said that while the roads are open, they are slick.

“There’s compacted snow and ice, and it’s blowing more snow across with about 30-mile winds.”

They had 13 plows out to cover the 335 miles of county roads.

Stevens said they limited the amount of salt and sand they applied to roads. “With the snow blowing, it just catches on the salt/sand and you end up with more snow on the road.”

While he said traffic also was light in the county, snowplow drivers didn’t appreciate people who had pushed snow down their driveway and across the county roads.

“That really slows things up. Even those big snowplows have a problem when you hit those (snow) windrows across the road,” Stevens said.

Most area counties pulled their plows off the roads Friday night and were heading out early this morning.

Braunshausen said minimal traffic in Mankato made things easier for plows, but now crews need to haul piles of snow away. Crews began last night in the downtown area, using big snow blowers that shoot the snow into large trucks normally used for hauling sweet corn.

“There’s 12 trucks and they have monster boxes, not like a normal dump truck. Each truck will haul 15 to 18 loads a night.”

The snow is brought to a dump site behind Cub west — a site that’s quickly filling up. “If we have another storm, we’re going to have to find more room,” Braunshausen said.

As the snow on the site melts, the water goes through a filtering system that captures sand, salt and debris before the water eventually makes its way to the Minnesota River.

He said city crews will spend the next week cleaning up and hauling away snow from business corridors around Mankato.

The big back-to-back snowstorms have piled up a lot of overtime, taxed equipment and depleted sand supplies, Braunshausen said.

“We were hoping we wouldn’t have to get more sand this year, but we had to order 400 tons more.”

The National Weather Service was set to cancel a blizzard warning early this morning.

The Minnesota Departments of Transportation and Public Safety urge motorists to plan ahead and avoid travel this weekend if possible. Although the storm system that dropped significant snow is moving out of the region, high winds are expected to continue through today.

The forecast for the next four days is for mostly sunny skies with highs in the low 20s today and hovering around 32 on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

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