How Rapid City prioritizes snow plow routes

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The average shift for a snow plow driver is between 10 to 14 hours, plowing at least 150 miles a day.

The first snow of the season fell Oct. 9.

"At the end of the day, it gives you a good accomplishment that you accomplished this, makes you go home feeling that you might have saved somebody's life by getting the street plowed to the hospital," said Mike Neisent, street maintenance operator, Rapid City Street Department.

Hospitals and schools are the priority, but crews also plow mainline intersections and emergency routes.

"I have family that drives around Rapid City just like everybody else, I want them to get wherever they're going as safely as they can, it makes me feel happy to do what I do," said Dale Pfeifle, superintendent, Rapid City Street Department.

The Rapid City Street Department focuses on getting slush off the roads before it freezes overnight, which makes for smoother travel in the morning.

"Give us a little patience, we're out here trying to do our best, doesn't do any good for either one of us to get into an accident, neither one of us will benefit from it," Neisent said.

Patience is key when it comes to driving in snow, and remember, for everyone's safety, the City can only plow at 25 miles an hour.

"If they're just patient, we will get out of their way and the road will be clean and then they can go whenever they need to go," Pfeifle said.

With new pre-wet systems on their plow trucks, the City is using less salt, meaning snow plowing is now more environmentally-friendly and cost effective.