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  • Writer's pictureWCMP

Pine City Digs Out After Another Snow Storm

This week, Pine City faced another major winter storm that dump at least half a foot of snow on the region.

During this most recent blast of snow, WCMP's Joe Keyport woke up extra early Thursday morning to hitch a ride with Matt Rooktie of Pine City Public Works to see the process for digging out the city.

"I woke up at 12:30, so I could get ready and plow my driveway and get here for 2:00," Rooktie told WCMP.

He says that during snow events like this, Public Works starts work around 2:00 a.m.

Matt has worked for Pine City Public Works for the last 23 years. This winter has been especially harsh, and Pine City has gotten a lot more snow earlier in the season.

Once the streets are checked for illegally parked cars, Matt preps his plow truck and checks in with one of the other six Public Works employees.

Maury Montbraidt, Pine City's Public Works Director, estimates that they are responsible for clearing about 36 miles of city streets when it snows.

Map of Pine City located in the Pine City Public Works Garage. Taken by Joe Keyport

While plowing may be the priority during weather events, staff still need to handle the day-to-day tasks that keep the city running.

"We do water, sewer, cemetery," said Rooktie. "Today, we were supposed to handle a funeral in the cemetery that would've required us to stop and take care of the grave, but it got canceled with the weather."

Pine City typically runs three large plow trucks, a pickup truck, and other large and small equipment to push snow around town.

"I'll start downtown and get that cleared so the businesses can open up. Our other truck will do around the elementary school so that is done before any kids show up. After that, we'll go on residential streets," Rooktie tells WCMP.

On top of handling Pine City’s infrastructure, Public Works employees get to be part-time meteorologists trying to predict when weather events happen. With Minnesota’s fickle weather, it's not always a 100% success rate.

"There are times we'll wake up early and see nothing on the ground. Then we'll get up at 5:00 a.m. to go to work and find there are three inches on the ground. It's hit or miss," Rooktie says.

Typically, Pine City doesn't plow unless two inches of snow has accumulated.

Once the snow is put into windrows and piled up nicely, Pine City uses contracted dump trucks to take it off the street and out to the fairground, which Matt calls the Sahara.

According to MPR, as of January 19, this winter was the 4th snowiest in the last 12 years, recording over 52.1 inches at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Taken by Joe Keyport

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