Snow Removal

Responding to snow requires a collaborative effort between the City, city contractors and the community. Learn more about the city's snow response plan below.

Snow and Storm Operations

When a snow, ice or windstorm is projected to impact the city, road crews will be monitoring the situation to assess the best approach to treating and clearing snow or debris from city streets.

Deicing and Salting

Liquid deicing and, in some cases, salt is applied on bridges, arterial intersections, school zones, specific hillsides and critical intersections when snow, ice or frost is predicted. When ice begins to accumulate on the roadway, a solid granular deicer is utilized. Granular deicer may also be used on arterial streets if conditions warrant. Deicer is generally not applied to residential streets on the valley floor except at controlled intersections and in selected problem areas.

Snow Plowing

When the snow starts to fall, city road crews go into action. Primary travel routes - which include main arterial streets, critical intersections and hillside roads - are plowed whenever there is snow accumulation. View map of primary snow plowing routes

When possible, a primary plow takes place overnight because it is the safest time for both citizens and the plow driver as there is less traffic on the roads. Also, the faster roadways are cleared, the less likely that snow will become an ice layer.

The city has roads that are maintained and plowed by state road crews. Trent Avenue (SR 290) and Pines Road (Highway 27) are plowed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). For more information on these roads, contact WSDOT at 509-324-6000. The City does not plow privately owned roads.

Full Residential Plow

Residential streets are considered for plowing when the city receives snow which significantly reduces traffic flow. There are 624 lane miles in the city, and it takes about 48 hours for a full residential plow. 

The City utilizes contracted graders to plow residential areas within the city, which costs taxpayers less money than purchasing equipment and employing more people. However, the companies that the City contracts with do not own graders with gates. Therefore, we are unable to avoid creating berms when plowing residential streets. 

When the city initiates a full residential plow, residents can track the progress on a snowplowing map. View the residential snow plowing status map

After a full residential plow is complete, residents who feel their street may have been missed can request service via the city's SVexpress to report their concern. A street location (address) and contact information will be required.

Residents should not remove snow from their property or sidewalks into the city street. Removing or depositing snow and ice in a manner that obstructs or creates an obstruction to vehicular or pedestrian traffic constitutes the misdemeanor of disorderly conduct pursuant to SVMC 8.25.030 and RCW 9A.84.030.

Sidewalk Snow Removal

Community members are responsible for clearing sidewalks near their home or business. Municipal Code 7.45 requires property owners located within Tier I priority areas to remove all accumulations of snow and ice exceeding three inches from adjacent public sidewalks. Tier 1 areas include commercially zoned areas of the city and Safe Routes to School. Sidewalks must be cleared within 48 hours after a storm has passed. The intent of these regulations is to provide a safer transportation system for pedestrians, including children walking to school, as well as to ensure businesses are accessible to pedestrians throughout our commercial areas. Open the sidewalk snow removal priority map

Unfortunately, the City does not provide resources to help residents physically clear their snow from sidewalks or driveways, so it is encouraged to check in on your neighbors if you are able to assist. If you belong to a group or organization who may have volunteers willing to help clear snow during and after storms, please call the City at 509-720-5000 so we can share your contact information when the need arises. 

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Crews & Equipment

  • Public Works staff monitors weather reports and directs crew activities
  • Five regular driver/operators with additional contracted personnel as needed
  • Eight Plow/Sander Trucks
  • Three Plow/Deicer Trucks
  • One Backhoe
  • 40,000-gallon storage system for liquid deicer
  • 1,000-ton enclosed storage building for granular deicer
  • Additional contract personnel and equipment are available for extreme weather conditions
  • On-call road graders are used when residential streets require plowing
  • 24/7 operations