We will be hearing a lot about Snowgates this Fall

The below video is of an Ironex snowgate that the city tested two years ago. We are now going to test the Henke snowgate this winter (which is superior to the Ironex because it lifts straight up instead of swinging out, which is better because it eliminates the possibility of taking out mailboxes). I like the Ironex video though because it shows how snowgates work.

The great thing about possibly using snowgates in Sioux Falls for the entire city is that it is truly a ‘quality of life’ issue for ALL of the residents. Homeowners, apartment dwellers and businesses don’t have to worry about plowing out the ends of their driveways of their homes or parking lots. It truly benefits EVERYONE.

The biggest argument against snowgates is there expense, but when compared to the millions we are spending on entertainment and recreational projects in Sioux Falls, it is just a spit in the bucket. Using our tax dollars to provide an ACTUAL service to all the residents of Sioux Falls is a positive thing. We have the money, that is according to our mayor and several city councilors who continually support spending our tax dollars on other ‘quality of life’ projects. So the argument that snowgates will be too expensive is moot.

Besides the expense of snowgates, the city’s public works department often has two main complaints about them;

1) They narrow streets. Well guess what, any amount of snowplowing narrows streets in Sioux Falls. Drive down any street in this town at the end of winter and you will notice it isn’t as wide, not because of snowgate use, but because of snow in general, and the fact that some of these streets are narrow to begin with.

2) It will take longer to plow streets. While this is partially true, once snowplow operators get the hang of these devices, it won’t take much longer to plow the streets. As you can see in the demonstration videos above the snowplows move at a pretty good clip.

It is no secret that people love snowgates, in fact people living in the test areas over the past two years have raved about them, they also make our streets safer. Rumor has it that the city has received many positive comments about them and when public meetings have been held to talk about testing them, oodles of people have shown up to support them.

Snowgates would be a great addition to public service to our city, I can’t wait to hear more about them, I have a feeling that will be sooner rather then later.


#1 anominous on 09.01.12 at 3:13 pm

These things will make plowing out the Sanford sports complex that much easier. Thank you for bringing these to our attention, L3wis.

#2 xdsteel on 09.01.12 at 3:18 pm

won’t have to worry about that this year. I am in a desert.

#3 GregN on 09.01.12 at 3:44 pm

I believe we as citizens are going to have to demand these be implemented if we want them to happen. For some reason, the same councilors who are giddy to vote for water features, indoor swimming pools, indoor tennis courts, event centers, etc etc that cost millions and millions of dollars suddenly act very concerned about the cost and budget impact whenever there is a hearing or informational on snow gates. The only time I recall Councilor Erpenbach ever questioning or concerned about cost was when asking about snow gates. I also sense a lot of resistance to these from public works – but that may be a misread on my part – they may just be reporting what they have seen thus far. If we have so much money that we can do all kinds of quality of life projects that mostly only benefit narrow groups and constituencies, we can afford snow gates I would think – if we WANT to. It’s simply a matter of priorities.

#4 Detroit Lewis on 09.01.12 at 3:54 pm

Greg – There will be much discussion on this in the coming weeks, and I have a feeling this time the citizens will be determining the course we take, not the city council and mayor.

#5 Muqhtar on 09.01.12 at 8:58 pm

So how many road graders does Sioux Falls own/operate? How much are these snowgates? But even more importantly – how is this a debate? There are many other places on earth with equipment like this and they just go out and buy it; it is a productivity enhancer, saves on labor cost and pays for itself.

#6 NPO on 09.01.12 at 10:20 pm

These snow gates are crap, waste of….wait a second. I’ve found something I agree on with DL! Had them in my area the first go around and loved them. Never had a berm in the driveway my dead grandmother couldn’t shovel out.

#7 Detroit Lewis on 09.01.12 at 10:24 pm

Muqhtar – The city thinks they can get by with 22 but it’s more like 80. We bought the test gates through RDO at $5,800 a piece, but if you buy direct from Henke, they would be $4,800 a piece. They would cost about $384,000. They seem to last quite awhile, as you can tell from the video.

#8 Detroit Lewis on 09.02.12 at 6:31 am

I guess Ellis decided to let the cat out of the bag;


#9 Detroit Lewis on 09.02.12 at 9:03 am

Another great thing about snowgates is that they will have an actual economic impact on our city. Snowplow operators will make more money in overtime pay and spend that extra money in our community.

#10 cr on 09.02.12 at 10:01 am


You are absolutely right.

There is “internal resistance” to snowgates, and I believe it comes from the top.

The Mayor told voters during his campaign that if elected, he would test snowgates. After he was elected, his “feet were held to the fire” on this issue.

The Council, esp!! Erpenbach, was upset that he did not first get their approval to proceed with a test of snowgates. This is really interesting given that Michelle has advocated for every other multi-million dollar Quality of Life project the Mayor has put forth!!!!

Mike and his Team are trying to cut corners everywhere they can in order to cover all of their “pet projects,” and I believe he does not support the additional cost of purchasing and operating snowgates!!!

At a Listening and Learning session held at the Moose Lodge, Mike made the statement, “There will NOT be at petition drive regarding snowgates”.

What this told me was he believes all decisions involving Sioux Falls citizens are under his control. What I would say is……….

Mr. Mayor, when it comes the Quality of Life issue called Snowgates……


#11 Detroit Lewis on 09.02.12 at 9:54 pm

It sure has, it’s to bad they can’t leave DT 🙂 oh, another project he f’ckd up.

#12 scott on 09.03.12 at 8:38 pm

perhaps they can get sanford to sponsor the snowgates.

#13 Detroit Lewis on 09.03.12 at 8:42 pm

Are you kidding? Heart attacks and back injuries from scooping snow is good business for them.