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State snow plows have big job, official says

  • Updated
March 2019 blizzard

Photo taken March 14, 2019. (David Byrnes/Capital Journal)

The current blizzard illustrates the job the state has in keeping roads clear during winter road conditions.

The Department of Transportation has 368 full time and 50 part time employees who use 400 snowplows, 13 bi-directional snow plows, 55 mechanized snow blowers, and 45 specialty equipment units.

The state department is charged with clearing 7,800 miles of roadways. A person would have to drive from Sioux Falls to Spearfish and back 10 times to put 7,800 miles on their odometer.

This total breaks down to 679 miles of interstate, 2,476 miles of United States highway, and 4,654 miles of South Dakota highway. But that is not all. Keep in mind that there are more lanes than just one on a stretch of public roadway, especially interstate. In all, these roads equal 18,265 total lane miles.