The first blizzard the Duluth area experienced last week now looks like it will be just one of two winter storms we'll get this month. On Monday, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch for the area, which stated 'blizzard conditions' and power outages were again possible.

It looks like the storm will impact the area the hardest on Wednesday, then linger through Friday. Must of the Twin Ports are expected to receive 6+ inches of snow, with some areas possibly seeing a lot more.

That means it's time once again for our snowplow drivers to work their butts off to clear the snow from Northland roads. I have complete respect for what a tough job that is. These drivers work long hours, many working away while most others are fast asleep. I wanted make that clear before I point out something I noticed from our last storm, an odd 'glitch in the matrix' of snow removal you could say.

I would think the snow removal priorities in the Northland are the the Snow Emergency Routes and other heavily traveled roads, followed by the residential areas. That makes sense to me, but anyone traveling on Maple Grove Road in Duluth after the last storm probably noticed a very busy section of the road remained incredibly bumpy, messy and hard to drive on significantly longer than other similarly traveled roads in the area.

TSM Duluth
TSM Duluth

The section in question is between Central Entrance and Haines Road, in the retail area near the Miller Hill Mall. Specifically, this is where you'll see traffic visiting places like Target and Burning Tree Plaza retailers like Best Buy.

Now, I realize the storm last week was a two-day, high impact event. But this section of Maple Grove Road was in incredibly bad shape as late as Thursday night, when adjoining roads were mostly clear and easy to travel. It was as if the made snowplows made one pass and then forgot about it with so many other roads to get to.

My wife let me know about it Thursday afternoon when she said her all-wheel drive vehicle had a heck of a time on that section of Maple Grove Road and she had hit a snow crater so that was so high it tossed everything around in her car.

I left the radio station downtown Thursday evening and had to head that way. It was perfectly fine until I took the left turn from Central Entrance onto Maple Grove Road. It was like that section of road existed in it's own universe.

I had my truck in four-wheel drive and noticed a car spun sideways right where you'd turn into Target. The road was covered in big, compacted snow craters and I felt like I was driving off-road, or even on the moon, as I bounced around frequently inside the cab of my truck. Truth be told, it was kind of fun for me, but not the SUV in front me who veered to the right and appeared to get stuck. There was also a long line of vehicles coming from the other direction that were move extremely slowly.

Then, as I approached the Kwik Trip where Haines Road intersects Maple Grove Road, Maple Grove turned perfect. The road at that point was cleared down to the concrete, no snow craters, nothing to impede travel. It remained in perfect condition driving past Sam's Club and remained that way all the way to Midway Road.

I found it so odd that only the busiest section of that road was in such horrible shape at that point in time. All other roads I traveled in the area were in great shape by comparison. Also, there where no snowplows to be seen anywhere in the area, so it didn't appear they where in the process of getting that section done, especially since my wife had brought it to my attention hours earlier.

I truly believe that section fell through the cracks with this storm for whatever reason. The section of road that time forgot, or at least the snow removal system, forgot.

Today, that section of Maple Grove Road is cleared once again. It's noticeably narrower now due to all the new snow and that caused traffic to move slow in the area. However, with all the new snow that is to be expected.

As the next storm approaches, I just hope the City recognizes this recent glitch in the snow removal matrix and everyone can get around safely in all parts of the Northland throughout the holidays and beyond.

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