City of Columbus Department of Public Service Snow and Ice Plan

Posted in: Blendon Woods
  • Avatar
  • bwsec
  • Respected Neighbor
  • Columbus, OH
  • 79 Posts
  • Respect-O-Meter: Respected Neighbor
  • FYI:  The City of Columbus will only plow the residential streets after they have completed Priorities 1, 2 & 3.

Snow routes priorities:

  • Priority 1: Freeway system (Portions of State routes 315, 33 and 104. ODOT is
    responsible for I-71, I-70, I-670 and I-270)
  • Priority 2: Arterial streets (Examples: High Street, Broad Street, Morse Road)
  • Priority 3: Collector residential streets (Examples: Oakland Park Avenue, Courtright
    Road, Hague Avenue, Weber Road)
  • Priority 4: Residential streets (Plowed only after four inches of snow are on the
    ground and after freeways, arterial and collector residential streets have been
    plowed and treated).

When the City of Columbus does plow residential streets after at least four inches of snow have fallen:

  • The goal is to make residential streets passable.
  • Plow trucks do not plow down to bare pavement on residential streets.
  • Residential streets typically are not plowed the entire curb-to-curb width.
  • On cul-de-sacs, plow trucks plow enough of the cul-de-sac “bulb” allow vehicles to
    turn around, rather than go right to the cul-de-sac bulb curb.

 Columbus’ Snow Warriors are responsible for more than 6,300 lane miles of roadway, more than any other Ohio city (or, 2,053 linear miles, approximately the distance between Columbus and Las Vegas).


Every winter storm is different, so strategy in responding to a specific storm may vary from that of another storm.


  • Because every storm is different, there is no standard or set time span for the Snow Warriors to plow Columbus street.

  • Long, uninterrupted snow falls require freeways, arterial and collector streets to be
    plowed and/or treated repeatedly until the snow stops. These long, uninterrupted
    snowfalls that drop more than four inches of snow will affect how soon the Snow
    Warriors can begin to plow residential streets.
  • Colder temperatures, wind, and cloudy conditions after a storm can lengthen the time
    it takes to treat and plow streets.

Wet, heavy snow also often increases the time needed to plow and treat streets.


The City of Columbus/Department of Public Service does not plow and treat specific
streets upon requests by residents or media. The 311 Customer Service Center is
unable to provide estimates as to when a specific street will be plowed and treated.

  • Streets, including residential streets, are plowed in a systematic order.


As Columbus has more than 200,000 private driveways, moving plowed snow from
private driveway aprons would add weeks to each plowing effort.

  • City would have to purchase dozens of tractors at $75,000 each, which would add
    millions to the City budget to purchase and maintain.

Residents also have a role during and after snow storms:

  • Drive with extra care and leave additional distance between you and the vehicle in
    front of you.
  • Maintain a distance of no less than 100 feet behind a snow plow truck.
  • Avoid passing snow plow trucks because the drivers cannot always see a smaller car about to pass.
  • Follow snow emergency laws when a snow emergency is declared.
  • When possible, park vehicles in driveways or parking lots and off streets to give plow trucks room to plow.
  • Check on senior citizens, shut-ins and other neighbors with mobility impairments.
  • Whether a home or business, shovel your sidewalk, driveway apron and any
    wheelchair ramps in front of your home or business.
  • Pile snow in yards. Never shovel snow into the street or sidewalks.
  • Apply salt, sand or cat litter to icy steps and paths.
  • When the snow begins to melt, clear snow from in front of catch basins by shoveling
    the snow into storm sewers. The heat of the storm sewer will melt the snow and allow other melting snow and ice to flow freely into storms sewers.

Columbus Snow Warriors have other job responsibilities including, but not limited to:

  • Patching potholes
  • Street cleaning
  • Alley surfacing treatment
  • Mowing
  • Underpass cleaning
  • Graffiti removal



Advertise Here!

Promote Your Business or Product for $10/mo


For just $10/mo you can promote your business or product directly to nearby residents. Buy 12 months and save 50%!