City Answers Questions About Snow Plowing/Removal

The City of Columbus released some answers to some commonly asked questions about snow plowing and snow removal within the city. Check out the questions and answers below.

What do crews do if there is not enough snow to plow, but the streets are icy?

Pre-treatment of roads begin when conditions warrant. During light snowfalls and/or when streets are icy, street crews will spread a brine mixture on major arterials, downtown, and at intersections with traffic signals and stop signs.

When does snow plowing begin?

When enough snow has accumulated (2-6″), crews will begin to plow the streets. After major streets and avenues have been plowed, work will begin on residential streets.

Which streets are cleared by the City Street Department?

The City Street Division plows snow from all streets within the City Limits of Columbus. It is also their responsibility to remove snow from Highways 30 and 81. These streets are plowed as often as needed to keep them clear.

When will my street be plowed?

Depending on the severity of the snowstorm, residential streets are usually plowed within 24 hours after the storm ends. Of course, it may take longer to clear all city streets in case of a blizzard or equipment failure.

Will my cul-de-sac be plowed?

Cul-de-sacs will be cleared with a front-end loader because other equipment is too large for these areas.

Should we move our cars from the residential streets?

During residential plowing, it is very helpful if cars are moved into the driveway or a street that has been cleared. Upon the removal or moving of snow by the City of Columbus, from streets or avenues located within the corporate limits of the City of Columbus, and the creation of any windrows, or piles of snow left around or upon a vehicle; said vehicle must be moved within twelve (12)hours (6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.) from the date of the creation of the windrow or pile of snow to a location at least 100′ from the nearest windrow located upon the portion of public right-of-way used for vehicular traffic, or to be moved upon privately owned property.

What about my alley?

All residential alleys are cleared last.

What about driveways and sidewalks?

When plowing snow on your street, crews have no place to push the snow except to the curb. This creates the unavoidable problem of already cleared sidewalks and driveways becoming covered with snow. Unfortunately, the City does not have the funds or personnel to clean sidewalks and driveways. The City Street Division asks your cooperation in removing the snow again. We all need to work together to keep our city safe, including clearing sidewalks of snow.

The City Code further states that no person shall deposit, throw, blow, or otherwise dispose of any snow, ice, or hard packed snow on any public property, street, alley, or other public way except for the sidewalks in the downtown area, as defined in the Snow and Ice Control Policy, which snow shall be returned to the curb-line dividing the streets and sidewalks in said designated area.

What about snow removal in the downtown business district?

It is not practical to try to clear the streets of snow during daytime hours due to the amount of traffic and parked vehicles. The snow removal in the business district is usually done the night following the snowstorm. Depending on the amount of snow, the business district is generally windrowed to the center of the streets and avenues, and hauled out. If necessary, parallel parking is only allowed on streets that have been windrowed, until the snow has been removed.

What if my mailbox becomes covered with snow?

Again, because crews have no place to put the snow, curbside mailboxes may become blocked. Since the City does not have the personnel to remove snow from the mailbox area, we ask that you clear the snow from your mailbox to allow the Post Office to deliver your mail.

What is meant by a “snow emergency”?

When the Mayor or Public Works Director declares a snow emergency, it simply means no vehicles may be parked on streets where you see emergency route signs. These routes are: 15 Street from 23 Avenue to 10 Avenue, and 17 Street from 23 Avenue to 10 Avenue. If necessary, the snow emergency may be extended to prohibit or restrict parking on arterial and residential streets. Should a snow emergency be declared, notice will be given by radio, television, and, if feasible, in the newspaper.

If I have an emergency, what should I do?
Call the Police Department at 911.

How many lane miles does the City have to plow?

The City of Columbus conducts snow operations on 492 lane miles of streets.

What if I have questions about snow plowing or removal?

If you have questions, you may call the City Public Works Director at 402-562-4260 or the City Street Division at 402-562-4253.