Subscribe for 33¢ / day

At 3:45 p.m. Dec. 31, snow plows cleared a path through one last residential street in Bismarck.

It was 29th Street from East Avenue E to Valleyview Avenue, still buried in a foot of heavy snow from Christmas Day.

"Oh my," said Sharon Kunnanz, a resident on the block, when a reporter showed up on her stoop with the news.

"I didn't realize we were the last," her husband, Art, said. 

In true North Dakota style, they weren't too riled up about it. And neither were the neighbors. 

"It was a lot of snow to move, so you've gotta be patient," said Wayne Vedquam, a retired bookkeeper who lives up the street. 

Residents on the block said someone plowed one lane through the road shortly after the Christmas Day blizzard, giving them a way out of their homes before the city plows showed up. They just had to pull into each others driveways for anyone to pass. 

"For some reason, it didn't stop people from driving the speed limit," Art Kunnanz joked. 

"We're both retired, so we didn't have to go out in it," his wife, Sharon, added.

Lucky for the neighbors on the block, they won't always be the final plow. 

According to Bismarck Public Works Director Jeff Heintz, plow crews groom residential streets by unit after emergency routes, major roads and school routes are opened. The city is divided into seven units with roughly equivalent road mileage. After a storm, a motor grader, loader and sander are dispatched to each area.

Within the units, plow crews usually alternate where they start from storm to storm in order to be fair, Heintz said. Or, they'll go first to an area that's particularly drifted over. 

"We try to change it up," he said.

Around 3:30 p.m. Dec. 31, six days after the snow began, several plow teams gathered in the neighborhood of the final street. Completing their own units, they'd come to help. 

"We all kind of converged on this area to finish," Heintz said. "Trying to knock that one and get it done."

When it snowed on Jan. 2, Heintz said this area was one of the first to be plowed. 

In that storm, of course, it mattered less.

It took only 32 hours for crews to plow the fluffy 8 inches that landed on the city, according to Heintz.

Reach Caroline Grueskin at 701-250-8225 or at