Public Works Moved Mountains of Snow and Still Remained Under Budget

Press Release

Des Moines, Iowa — Tuesday, March 30, 2021 — With winter weather in the rearview mirror, Des Moines Public Works has final numbers for the 2020-2021 snow removal season.  Despite Des Moines receiving over 150 percent of the 10-year average for snow, the Public Works Department still came in under budget. The department spent $2.1 million or 66 percent of its $3.2 million budget for the season because of the bulk of snow falling in fewer, but larger storms.

"It’s really rewarding to look back at the massive effort put in by over 200 City employees,” Public Works Director Jonathan Gano said. “These numbers really put into perspective the scale of the job our employees were tasked with this winter in keeping Des Moines’ roads safe. It takes a lot of hours and hard work, and I’m proud of the dedication that was shown this winter."

Gano says now that winter weather has passed, the Streets Division is focused on pothole repairs and road improvements throughout the spring, summer and fall, but the team always keeps an eye toward next winter’s snow removal efforts.

“We always take time during the summer to evaluate our snow removal operations and see what we can do to be prepared for next winter,” Gano said. “Snow removal always is a massive part of our jobs at Public Works in Des Moines, and it’s important that we are as prepared and efficient as possible so we can keep Des Moines moving all winter long.”

Snow removal by the numbers:

  • 55.8 inches of snowfall recorded (153% of Des Moines’ 10-year average)
  • 200+ employees from Public Works, Parks and Recreation and the Wastewater Reclamation Authority help with snow removal duties
  • 100+ pieces of snow removal equipment
  • 18,879 employee hours spent plowing and spreading (that’s two years worth of time)
  • A minimum of 35,227 miles driven by Des Moines plows (more than enough to circle the world which only takes 24,901 miles)
  • 9,508 tons of salt spread (Nearly as much as the Eiffel Tower weighs, which is 10,100 tons)
  • 10,264 parking citations issued during snow removal operations
  • 320 citations for sidewalk snow removal non-compliance issued

Al Setka
Chief Communications Officer, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit, Facebook and Twitter for more information.