Public Works Clears Des Moines Roads And Comes In Under Budget

Des Moines Public Works Snow Removal Budget

Press Release

Des Moines, Iowa — Wednesday, March 16, 2021 — This winter, the snowfalls may have been large, but they were few and far between. This recipe led to a savings of over $1.94 million from the Des Moines Public Works Department’s annual budget for snow and ice removal.

"I’m proud of and thankful for the 200 men and women who dedicated their winter to keeping Des Moines roads clear of snow and ice,” Public Works Director Jonathan Gano said. “Our team was prepared for major snowstorms and put in the hard hours to quickly clear Des Moines roads so that our city’s 215,000 residents could get back to normal driving quickly."

Anchored by January’s 14 inch snowstorm, Des Moines received 30.1 inches of snow through the season or 86% of its 10-year average accumulation. Because the snowfall occurred mainly during four storms, the Des Moines Public Works only expended 39% of its projected $3.2 million snow and ice control budget for the winter.

“Our budget is at the mercy of mother nature,” Gano said. “The fact is, it costs a lot less to move 12 inches of snow once, than it does to move three inches of snow four times.”

The money that is not spent from this year's snow and ice control budget does still provide benefits to Des Moines as the remaining budget will go towards road repairs like pothole patching.

Snow Removal By The Numbers:

  • 30.1 inches of snowfall recorded (86% 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
  • A minimum of 12,500 miles driven by Des Moines plows (enough to drive halfway around the world which only takes 24,901 miles)
  • 6,555 tons of salt spread (Nearly as much as the Christ the Redeemer Statue weighs, which is 7,000 tons)
  • 901 parking citations issued during snow removal operations
  • 260 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.