Snow Removal

During the week, when two or more inches of snow falls in Detroit Lakes, city crews hit the streets.  Snowplow drivers begin their day very early, usually between midnight and 3:00am.  Streets classified as arterial collectors and central business district are given first priority. These are high volume traffic routes which connect major sections of the City and provide access for emergency fire, police and medical services.

The second priority streets are those streets providing access to schools, commercial/industrial businesses and city parking lots.

Third priority streets are low volume residential streets and alleyways.

Snow plowing is usually completed within 8-10 hours after a snow event. Keep in mind that the severity and duration of the winter storm affects plowing schedules.

On the weekends, it is the policy of the City of Detroit Lakes to plow after 4 inches or more of snow has accumulated or drifting has occurred causing difficulty for vehicle traffic.

You should be extremely cautious when snow removal and sanding operations are underway. These vehicles must stop and back up frequently, so you should stay a minimum of 75 feet behind them. A snow cloud often obscures the equipment, so motorists should not pass unless you can see the entire snowplow. Remember that a typical plow is wider than most driving lanes if the plow wing is fully extended.

Property owners that have a mailbox placed along the street are responsible for keeping it accessible to the postal carrier. Any damage that occurs in the process of snow removal is the responsibility of the property owner as well.

It is unlawful for any person, not acting under a specific contract with the City of Detroit Lakes, to put snow onto the street or other city-owned property without adequate arrangements for its immediate removal.



Per City Code, snow and ice removal from sidewalks is the responsibility of residential and business property owners. City ordinances require ice and snow to be cleared from sidewalks within 24 hours after the snow or ice has ceased to be deposited in a commercial district and 72 hours in a residential district. If snow and/or ice is not removed, the parcel owner may receive a warning.  Non compliance may cause the City to abate the nuisance and charge the property owner for services rendered at a rate of $200 for the first 50 feet of sidewalk plus $50 for each additional 25 feet. If the property owner does not pay the bill, it will be certified as a special assessment against the property and collected with property taxes. 

To report any issues regarding snow removal please contact the City of Detroit Lakes Street Department at or 218-847-4637.



Per City Code 802.08, the Public Works Director has the authority to order a snow emergency whenever an emergency exists in the city, or in a section or sections thereof, because of snow, freezing rain, sleet, ice, or other phenomena, which create or are likely to create hazardous road conditions, or likely to impend the free movement of fire, health, police, emergency, or other vehicular traffic, for the safety and welfare of the community; the Public Works Director may declare an emergency to exist for a period of seventy-two (72) hours, but the emergency may be sooner terminated if conditions permit. A snow emergency will be declared whenever there is a forecasted snowfall exceeding two inches.

During the period of emergency, no vehicle shall be parked or left standing on any city street from 1:00am to 7:00am to provide for the orderly and safe clearing of streets. Parking may resume on individual streets as soon as the snow removal or street cleaning operation is completed, except as may be otherwise restricted by ordinance.

A police officer may impound any vehicle operated, standing, or parked in violation of this ordinance. In deciding whether to impound such vehicle, a police officer shall make a discretionary determination as to the necessity for impoundment and removal of such vehicle. In addition, violation of any provision of Chapter 802 shall be a petty misdemeanor and be subject to penalty fines as set forth by the City Council (first violation is $25).

These parking rules are set for the safety of the public. The City of Detroit Lakes encourages no on-street parking during all snow and ice events. Tenants living in downtown apartments are directed to park in designated overnight parking spaces as to avoid fines and/or impoundment. Landlords are encouraged to notify their tenants of these rules and to provide alternatives to on-street parking.



Ice and Snow on Public Sidewalks Ordinance 900

Snow Emergency & Winter Parking Ordinance 802.08